I am new here at World Compassion, although Jason Law has been a personal friend for many years. My day job for the past two decades has been creating and building businesses. But, my passion has always been in humanitarian aid that brings the message of Jesus Christ to those in need. Today the church world calls this “compassion evangelism” but Jesus worked ministry in this fashion everywhere he went.
I was in Haiti just weeks after the devastating earthquake in January 2011 delivering rice and beans that fed tens of thousands of people at their most desperate moment. It was an opportunity to help with practical needs and build relationships through which we could share the message of Christ. Working in humanitarian relief has helped me understand that people experience travesties that are beyond their control, and that believers must mobilize with a heart of compassion to meet those needs.
I was honored to join the World Compassion team on June 17th as Executive Director with the purpose of developing new ministry “on the ground” while helping to shape the organization as we move forward. Just one day after joining World Compassion, I found myself on a flight to Northern Iraq with two other team members to execute a food distribution to 2,000 Syrian refugees and assist as a local pastor preached the gospel to them in their native tongue.
We stayed a week on the ground in Northern Iraq spending time in the Domiz camp as well as visiting refugees in other cities such as Koya. It was tragic learning about the Syrian war through the stories these folks told. We left with conflicting feelings and thoughts which provoked many late night conversations among our team. These were normal people with careers, children playing sports, young people opening and operating small businesses, or simply going to college and studying. They were not at all like the Jihadists we see on TV wanting to “kill the infidel.” Inevitably they became trapped in a vicious war by the same Jihadists that threaten Westerners liberty. These refugees became victims caught in the crossfire of brutality between the Regime and the Rebels.
It is a challenge to measure the negative impact war has on families, parents, children and communities. But we all returned with resolute purpose to help you understand the crisis these refugees are trapped in and how we can all work together to relieve their immediate humanitarian needs while bringing longer term spiritual support.
We invite you to learn more about the Syrian refugee crisis, and the opportunity in front of us through the I Am Syria blog posts. This page includes personal stories from refugees relating the suffering they have experienced, excerpts from meetings with government officials, and even lunch with a terrorist. Join us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as we will be providing daily and weekly updates on the Syrian refugee crisis though our I Am Syria campaign. Also, visit our Syria web page for even more content on how World Compassion is addressing the crisis.
Like you, I watched clips on the news about the war in Syria, and even read a few articles on the topic. It seemed like “just another war” in the Middle East. I was certainly unprepared for what we encountered in those camps.
There are 150,000 Syrian refugees in Northern Iraq that World Compassion endeavors to reach. Each number represents a person, with a tragic story, but the end of their story has not yet been written. Together, you and I control the ending of their story. We can choose to give food and the hope of the gospel, or we can allow this to be just another faceless war.