Refugee/Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Appeal - March 2018 Update
Every blessing you receive is for you to be grateful and to pass it on. We remain committed to our mission, the mission that our Lord Jesus Christ entrusted to us: we must continue to be there for the stranger, the refugee, the child and the most vulnerable. We want to be his ambassadors, and we are always open to be used as tools for our Lord. We are aware that with the little we offer to those people we are making a big difference. This is an opportunity for everyone to step in with us, hand in hand, to continue this work, as partnership is what our Lord Jesus Christ meant when he said, “for where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” These words of Wafa Goussous, who directs the Orthodox Initiative (of the Middle East Council of Churches) in Amman, come from deep within her heart. For it is into the midst of her nation of Jordan that tens of thousands of Syrian and Iraqi refugees have sought safety and help... and The Outreach Foundation has come alongside this ministry, over the past two years, supported by your generous gifts.
Currently there are over 50,000 Iraqi refugees registered in Jordan, with close to 20,000 of them being Christians. These Iraqis are joining Syrian refugees in Jordan, coming into the heavily burdened system which is doing all that it can to provide whatever it can to meet the essential needs required to start a new life away from home. Local churches have been stepping up to take a share of the burden off the systems in place: hosting families in their facilities, providing relief items, and greeting them with open arms and hospitality to ease the transitions and traumas. Wafa works with the local Syrian Orthodox churches in both Amman and Karak to provide food parcels to over 1,600 families, several times a year. It is important to remember that most of these families came from settled, middle class situations – they were teachers, shop owners and crafts-people. They owned a house and sent their children to college. Now they are without possessions and place, without home and, too often, short of hope. The work of the Orthodox Initiative (and of The Outreach Foundation) is to undergird the local church in giving both spiritual and material assistance as most of these families settle into the long wait to be resettled in another country.
In a very different context, some 1.4 million Syrian refugees in Jordan have been awaiting return to their country, some of them for almost seven years. Most have ended up in large, organized camps; some, like those with whom Wafa and her team work, have “fallen through the cracks” and have gathered in agricultural areas in the north of Jordan, seeking some meager income on large farms. These ad hoc camps receive little international relief aid and so are especially grateful that Wafa and her team have focused attention on their dire situation.
In addition to food parcels (regularly distributed) a small “school tent” has been set up where the children are taught basic subjects. Art therapy, games and sports, and a knitting project are offered to provide the little ones with hope and healing. In preparation for winter in this harsh area, Wafa and her team brought large plastic tarps to protect the battered tent-homes against the driving winter rains. The needs are overwhelming; their capabilities limited; but their presence alone would be a gift, used by God for his glory…
Wafa reflects: It is difficult to endure these times and to digest all this hardship, time and again. The burden is heavy, the resources seem to never be enough. We are committed to provide for the most vulnerable, to cherish every human life regardless of their condition or religion. We are here for a reason, and that is because of the unconditional love he gave us to use. The Orthodox Initiative will continue on a sacred mission in this blessed land. With your help, we will try our best to keep bringing smiles to a child, bread to the hungry, and comfort to those in despair…
I was grateful to see this work this past summer in Jordan and struck by how deep, tender and trusted is the relationship which Wafa and her team have built with these broken communities. May Christ be known – ever more deeply – through these acts of love and compassion, done under the banner of his cross.
Associate Director for Partnership Development
Read more about the Refugee/IDP Appeal HERE.
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