Recently I was on a call with one of our main co-workers in Kurdistan, Pastor John, who was giving me an update on how World Compassion’s relief outreaches were going among refugees. While we talked, I got a clearer picture of what many of these refugees continue to face every day and realized the importance of our commitment to help them.
Pastor John told me that they have had four more refugees, all former Muslims, give their lives to Jesus over the past several weeks! There are six others that are close, and a few of these six are reading the Bible in their search for truth. Please be praying for these people!
These four refugees accepted Christ as a result of the frequent visits from Pastor John and his team. The food, blankets and other items World Compassion provides every month open the door for local churches (Pastor John’s church is one) to build relationships, and it’s through those relationships that they have the opportunity to share the Gospel.
The urgent emergency to accommodate the flood of people fleeing into Kurdistan may have subsided several months ago, but every day these families still live in an emergency situation. Many families have been displaced now for over 2 years, some 9 months, and others only a few weeks.
The Ongoing Crisis for Families
The Kurdish Regional Government continues to do all they can to assist the refugees, but there is no way they can provide the hundreds of thousands of jobs that would be needed to employ and sustain the more than one million refugees and displaced people in their region. Therefore, a crisis remains – how do these families survive day in and day out?
Each morning, the men of the family will go line up on the street corner hoping to get picked up for a day’s work on a construction site, but there are no guarantees they will find work. Some may get work one day, but not again for several days. If they do find work, the average pay is about $25 (£16.50) a day. Not much for a family of four to survive on – especially if you only find work 2-3 days out of the week.
Ramziyeh, the mother of a family of four, arrived about six months ago to one of the locations we provide aid to. When they fled their home during the ISIS invasion, they first found shelter in the open sanctuary of a church – sharing the room with multiple families with very little space and no privacy.
This arrangement worked for the first couple months, but like any family, they desired to move on and try starting a new life. They attempted to move into an apartment with some distant relatives, but the landlord told them they could not have that many people living in one apartment or he would have to more than double the rent.
Without a job neither they nor their family, were able to pay the amount demanded. Now they are living in an abandoned warehouse along with other families seeking shelter. Tears of frustration came to Ramziyeh’s eyes as she shared this story with Pastor John.
They desire to rebuild their lives, just like we would if we were in their shoes. They want privacy and dignity back, but for now, they share a small space to sleep with multiple families, using public toilets and showers. They have no work, no money and nowhere to go.
Ramziyeh’s oldest son has been blessed to find periodic work providing a little income for the family, but it’s not enough to survive.
If it wasn’t for the items organizations like World Compassion provide, especially food, Ramziyeh’s family and hundreds of thousands of others couldn’t survive. Without a supply of food, a new crisis of starvation could occur. The situation has moved from an immediate crisis to long-term crisis prevention.
[divider]The Coming Harvest[/divider]
We are passionate about helping the broken, but we must also be committed to seeing their lives transformed. Our commitment to help God meet the needs of these people is an effective approach in this region that opens the door for the message of Jesus to be shared with them.
We can’t stop now! The Bible says we should not grow weary while doing good, because in due time we will reap a harvest. I’m believing God for a harvest of souls to come to Christ in the Middle East.
The opportunities and the plans we have to provide relief this year could almost double what we did last year. We are not slowing down but picking it up.
Your giving is like the fuel in the tank to make the engine go. Your giving helps get food to families like Ramziyeh’s. Your giving is what created the opportunity for four former Muslims to give their lives to Jesus in the past couple of weeks.
When you give, you help alleviate some of the stress refugee families face each day. The food, blankets, and other items we provide help lift their heads and get them looking forward again, rather than always just trying to survive. It shows someone is thinking about them. That we care. That God cares.
We can help supply basic food and care items for a family of four for $100 (£66). That’s $25 (£16.50) a person. You may want to help ship a 40-foot container, roughly 21.5 tons of aid, for $12,000 (£7,929). The more aid we can provide, the more people we can reach.
With summer right around the corner, we are also making preparations now to purchase air cooling units, water coolers, and even fans to help keep families cool this summer.
Take a moment to pray and purpose in your heart what you should give and then sow a financial gift into changing the lives of these refugees.