International aid stymied by fierce Middle East fighting; Christians respond.

By August 7, 2006

Lebanon (MNN)–The Middle East crisis has generated a fast-growing humanitarian problem for hundreds of thousands of Lebanese.

Aid is slow in reaching those trapped between by the war. The United Nations and Red Cross were forced to delay aid shipments. Compounding the trouble, private groups also said they had difficulty moving personnel and material into the country.

However, Global Aid Network, or GAiN-USA’s Tim Burns says they’re working with a missionary partner to provide ‘Bags of Blessing’ to the refugees. “It’s enough materials to sustain a family of five for about a week. That includes beans, rice, pasta, meat, cheese, soap, matches, aspirin, that sort of thing.”

The aid packages are well-received because needs are mounting and the area is overwhelmed by the sudden influx of people. More than just meeting that physical need, though, Burns says, “It’s a way just to let them know that people care and it’s a way to introduce the Gospel to these folks as well.”

Their team is encouraged, in spite of the grim situation. “We always see the Lord work through tragedies to bring people to himself.” Burns explains, “90-percent of these refugees are non-Christians from areas that these missionaries cannot go to. So now, because of the war, these people are coming to the missionaries.

But it’s unknown how long the fighting will continue, or when things become reasonably safe for continued exodus. At last count, 700,000 refugees are crowded into the city center, having fled Southern Lebanon.

Will the supplies hold out? Burns says they’re trusting in God’s provision. “So as long as the door is open, we’re going to keep trying to provide these ‘Bags of Blessing’.”

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