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  • The comments and opinions expressed herein on this web site do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and point of view of Lutheran Hour Ministries. Statements are made exclusively by the author and appear as written and have not be subject to the Lutheran Hour Ministries doctrinal review process.

Milk and Hygene Materials for Iraqi Refugees Enfants

It has been long since the war in Iraq started and Iraqi refugees came to Lebanon considering it a temporary place, a station to live in until they get relocated by United Nations to other countries where they will find a better living.  Many of them left Lebanon, but many are still waiting for a better future, since they are living in poorness and neediness in Lebanon. Furthermore, new born babies came along while they are waiting, these babies and kids need well nutrition, families are becoming larger, and so the need is also becoming larger.

Therefore, MELM spotted the need to give food packages including milk, diapers, wipes and anti-bacterial for new born till 2 years old kids in addition to some other basic nutrition elements like rice food cans, hygiene bottles. Iraqis parents were happy to receive these food packages and were grateful and thankful for MELM help concerning milk diapers. It is the time to put hand in hand and work to help our brother and sister in humanity with their needs.

As the Bible says :  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:8)

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Supporting Refugees in Erbil Camps

All the villages of Nineveh valley are now empty, there is no one left. All the Iraqi Christians were forced to quickly leave the land of their ancestors without being able to take anything with them. They were given a 48 hour ultimatum to convert to Islam, pay the gizya (high tax per person) or leave.

More than 350,000 Christians were dislocated and rooted out from their homes. They are now scattered in Northern Iraq. Tens of thousands of them live in camps packed with caravans that consist of one room and a small bathroom. These were prepared for the refugees to cover their basic needs. Others are staying in several large warehouses – which are not in service anymore – where every four families are sharing one bathroom.

During our mission there, we felt a real need to support the women who were more devastated by the events and needed special help to deal with their physical problems and psychological difficulties.

Maya, a Christian women, was waiting in line to receive aid from the Lutheran Ministry when she told us that, “We left our home with all our belongings. We left in our pajamas as everything happened so quickly”. It was clear to us that the displacement left her traumatized.

LHM observed their needs and prepared holistic support packages for one hundred families and their children. Each family received 3 kg of rice, 3 kg of wheat groats (bergol), 2 kg of sugar, 2 liters of oil, tomato sauce, 4 potions of pasta, 2 portion of Tuna fish, 2 portions of sardine, 2 portions of cheese, meat cans, Halawa, Foul, beans and salt. We also distributed Bible coloring book for children and detergents for every family.

 

Holistic Relief To Christian Refugees in Northern Iraq

Since more than two years ago, Lutheran Hour Ministries – Lebanon started a Holistic relief ministry for Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Lebanon. The stories of Iraqi Christian refugees in Lebanon touched our hearts and we felt the great need that is existing among Christian refugees in Kurdish territories in Iraq.

The current situation of the Christians in Kurdish territories and other parts of Iraq is miserable and gloomy. The Christians were around 1.5 million during Saddam Hussein’s rule, then due to the insecurity in Iraq, the number decreased gradually to around 750,000 in the first half of year 2014, and in July 2014 after ISIS attacked the Christian towns and villages in Nineveh region forcing them to leave everything behind, the Christians presence collapsed to around 250,000 only. Moreover, every day around 15 Christian families (around 75 persons) are leaving daily to Europe or other intermediary countries once they receive approval for asylum from the United Nations.

MELM traveled to Northern Iraq to provide humanitarian aid to cover a small part of the refugees’ needs, but more importantly to show the love and care of Lutheran Hour Ministry to them. We brought for these needy refugees more than 800 packages of food with children coloring Bible books and detergents. We spent four days in different locations in Northern Iraq focusing on the neediest and neglected camps.

During our trip, we noticed that young girls are facing traumas since they refuse to go back to their towns and villages (even if it might be later liberated from ISIS). Some of the girls are still having nightmares and sleeping problems knowing that one of their girlfriends, or sisters or relatives was abducted by ISIS fighters and became a sexual slave for them.

So the current situation is dire and the future of Christians is bleak as many of them feel unwelcomed by their Muslim neighbors who actually helped ISIS in identifying the Christians and in marking their houses with the letter ‘Noun’, N in Arabic for ‘Nazarene’. Many of them do not believe in coexistence with Muslims anymore and fear for their lives and for the future of their children whom they do not want to re-live this horrifying experience.

This is very sad and truly depressing news; it is evident that Iraq and Syria are now losing their Christian citizens for good with no desire of returning back, and no hope of stopping this type of demographic bleeding.

We consecrated the first whole day of our visit to supports the refugee camps in Koysenjaq, which is about two hours’ drive away from Erbil. Many Christian and Yazidi refugees are settling there in three small refugees’ camps.

In Koysenjaq, we met several children in the camps who are not attending school because they cannot afford even the transportation to the school premises. They were very happy to receive the Bible children book and enquired about when we will visit them again to provide books and food packages.

We were touched by the great needs of the refugees in Northern Iraq and were glad to be able to reach out to the neglected small camps away from the capital city, Erbil. In all what MELM is doing, we seek to comply with Christ’s teachings that he is in the hungry and the helpless, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in …” (Mathew 25:35-40).

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Reaching Out To Studetns

Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. (Matthew 13:8)

It is the season of education, all students are in schools their brains are programed and ready to learn. Therefore, schools are one of our targets and we aim to share with them the good news and teach them about Jesus. We thank God for Puzzle Club series for they are an open door for us that we can use to reach out to students in schools. Lately, we visited “Charle Khoury” school, Ashrafieh Lebanon. It is a school that contains students coming from different religious groups, which is considered a good soil to sow the seed of Christian faith and show care and love to these kids. We visited the school where we shared some indoor activities with the students and we showed “Puzzle Club Pet Napping Mystery” movie, in which they learned about the love of God through Jesus Christ who saves us and accepts us as we are. Discussions followed the show in which we talked about how we bare each other and love each other same as God loves us. Also the students were happy to have the movie story book as a gift. At the end many of them prayed asking Jesus to save them and live in their hearts… As the Bible says:

“Then they .. gladly received his word…” (Acts 2:41)

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Reaching Out Syrian Refugees in their Tents

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” (Acts 20:35)

Before winter begins and the tough weather starts, MELM carried to the Syrians refugees who live in Bikaa valley a truck full of food packages. Many of refugee families couldn’t find an affordable place to live in, so they set a tent considering it their home and shelter but they remained hunger for food and basic life nutrition. During our round we stopped at many refugees camps where the tents are set and we gave each family a food package. They always welcomed us with a smile; there were kids playing with dust, trash, and left overs toys, who run to us with a big smile and happily and gratefully greeted us knowing that we came because we care for them. They touched our Christian love and care through the food we brought to them. It is our opportunity to share our blessings with the needy people. As the Bible say:

 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)

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