Syria and Northern Iraq continue to suffer, millions abandoning their houses and belongings, straggling across borders with what they can carry. Dazed families huddle in white canvas international aid shelters as the chill fall rains become streams between tents, often flooding across the fabric floors and leaving silt behind. Swollen refugee camps, some staggering under the weight of 100,000 or 200,000 occupants, are scattered across areas of Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Jordan.
The team I lead has been able to help support OM workers and local churches working in those areas by communicating the need effectively to followers of Christ across America. Among other approaches, we are using social channels and memes like #GivingTuesday to help people find the message, so they know about the need, see what is being done to help, and want to contribute. And they have! If you want, you can check it out.
What thrills me is to hear how God is using this calamity on the doorstep of the Church in the Middle East to transform the church. Even as followers of Christ, we often harbor prejudices, avoiding those we don’t trust. But in God’s inimitable grace, churches that formerly snubbed certain ethnic groups now find a sea of those undesirables surrounding them, in desperate need and looking to them for help. Praise God, they have chosen to respond in love, giving all they can, exhausting themselves in the name of Christ, and have found they as churches and as Christians have never been more alive, more fulfilled, more full of joy.
Hmmm, what can I learn from that?