The biggest challenge most Americans face (besides the obvious prepping our grills for summer), is keeping up with Presidential tweets and movie updates. Then there’s the media news from overseas. Baffling. Overwhelming.
You, like so many Americans we know, probably do care about the refugee crisis in Iraq and Syria, but have found it challenging to respond. Who is effective? What is the best way to help? Who receives the aid? In this month’s issue, we’re focused on exactly what our relief aid looks like, including firsthand refugee accounts.
Since 2014, many of our Indigenous Ministries family have responded with prayers and generous gifts enabling us to help many. Thank you; together we’ve helped many thousands of refugees. Unfortunately, the need for relief aid continues to grow; again we appeal to you for help.
UN Secretary General Guterres, recently stated that only 8% of the UN operations in Iraq are funded. Yet these operations meet the needs of more than three (3) million displaced (read: refugees) Iraqis. While this is disconcerting news, the underlying unseen event is the opportunity we have as the Body of Christ to help many in their ultimate time of need.
We work directly with the local Church to bring relief aid and the healing message of hope and forgiveness in Christ to refugees. The Church also brings community and fellowship…something that truly becomes a big need in the refugee camps later on. What are some of the situations our teams are faced with when they visit refugees and how are we responding to the needs? Here are three families’ accounts – each one has fled being 2 1/2 years under ISIS in the last few months:
A family with mother, 68 (her husband died) and her two adult daughters with their children. One daughter’s husband was killed by ISIS, the other daughter’s husband left. There are no men in this family for protection; a man living in the same refugee camp has been threatening the women and little girls. Our team has reported this situation to the camp authorities (they are most likely going to be relocated, and the man put on a watch list), helped with food, clothing and counseling.
Another family shared that when ISIS came through and displaced them, the father died of cancer in a refugee camp. Shortly after that the mother also died of cancer leaving four children. We have helped with food and clothing; the children have temporary care. Our teams will keep monitoring this situation.
We also work with a mother (her husband died) who has been struggling with severe depression because her 3 year old daughter, pictured on the left, was taken by ISIS in 2014. Our team has gotten her counseling and helped with food, clothing and other personal needs. See the next page for more.
We continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the refugees in Iraq and Syria. Here’s how your donations are helping:
Clothing – When they hear the lull in gunfire on their street, refugees just run out of their front door and into a waiting transport bus. They are then taken directly to refugee camps to begin their new existence. Can you imagine how you would handle this? Most have only the clothes on their backs, so our teams provide inexpensive clothing and shoes for family members.
Counseling – After assessing the needs, our teams bring in qualified counselors to help refugees. This is where you can pray. Pray for healing, for comfort. Pray that the Scriptures given will be received, and that our pastors will be able to also be an encouragement in the days to come.
Children – Let’s not forget that kids are kids. Our packets of aid include small toys, crayons and coloring books for the little ones, and a book or suitable toy for the older ones.
Backpacks & Uniforms – School starts up in September and we are preparing once again to equip refugee kids for school. Each backpack will include pencils, crayons, pens, paper, glue, etc.
Literacy – Beautiful International Women’s Ministry is currently helping 100 Yazidi widows in northern Iraq with English literacy, relief aid and counseling.