Refugee IDP Appeal - Update
Wars and invasions seem to happen very quickly. The recovery FROM them takes a long time... I was reminded of this, again, from time spent with two Outreach ministry partners in Lebanon which your gifts to our Refugee Appeal support.
Izdihar Kassis, pictured here with a grateful mother, lives in Zahle, Lebanon. She was at first overwhelmed by the number of Syrian refugees she saw on the streets of her town. Many came from the nearby tent camps set up by the U.N. in Beqaa Valley. She soon discovered that others were not living in these “formal camps” but in small communities of tents pitched on rented land where they could be closer to local agricultural work. This was the work with which they were familiar in Syria and might provide some small income to sustain their families. Izdihar’s faith compelled her to reach out and her heart was touched by the women with babies, whom, she knew, could not possibly have access to medical care, diapers, and nutritional supplements. A Baby Ministry was launched. Izdihar built a small team to meet monthly with multiple groups of these women where clothes, diapers, and formula are given out. A story of Hope is shared. Relationships are formed that give Izdihar and her team access to the broken lives of these women and, in that crucible, Good News is offered.
In Beirut, Our Lady Dispensary, a ministry of the Middle East Council of Churches, cares for both Syrian and Iraqi refugees who have made their way to this large metropolitan area. The Iraqi refugees are those who were driven out of Mosul and the small Christian villages of the Nineveh Plain when ISIS took control there in the summer of 2014. Coming mostly from middle-class families, not unlike our own, they were shop owners and teachers. They had houses; they drove their children to the university for classes; they met for worship in their local congregations. They are us...
While in Lebanon with a group of Outreach women who had come with me to participate in an annual conference sponsored by the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, we gathered with 24 of these women to offer them a day of joy and refreshment. Our “garden party,” hosted by the staff of Hamlin Elder Care Center, a ministry of the Synod led by Miss Sana Koreh, the director, took place under the shade of trees, overlooking the Martine Valley in the mountains of Hammana. We “broke the ice” by making beaded bracelets together. Our Iraqi sisters then sang for us and we joined in a bit of dance. A lovely lunch was provided and was capped off by the sharing of handmade chocolates brought by one of our women, all the way from California. It was a tiny respite from the harsh realities of their current circumstances and the uncertainty of their future. Their faith sustains them, and that is both humbling and inspiring to witness...
Grateful for your partnership in this journey with those who have lost everything and live expectantly into God’s future,
Marilyn Borst, Associate Director of Partnership Development
Make a gift to the Refugee/IDP Appeal HERE or by sending a check to our office.