Mission groups continue work with caution as anniversary approaches

By March 19, 2004

Iraq (MNN) — Car bombings and the killing of Christian relief workers aren’t stopping the work of Christian humanitarian organization World Vision. The violence has claimed many lives, including workers with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.

World Vision’s Andrea Swinburn-Jones says, “When fellow aid workers are injured or hurt, or killed, it’s always a worry. The fact that life has been lost is just a tragedy in itself. When it’s people that are working in the same type of industry of course you start worrying about your own safety.”

While many are bracing for more violence as the anniversary of the Iraqi liberation approaches, Swindburn-Jones says, “I’ve noticed that a lot the western media is focusing on the one year anniversary, and I’ve spoken with people in the Arab community and it seems to be a very western fixation.” She doesn’t believe that’s part of the Iraqi culture.

Despite such a highly insecure environment, World Vision has made great progress. “Our programs in northern Iraq, we’ve managed to rehabilitate more than 200 schools. In excess of 100,000 children have access to cleaned rehabilitated schools. (They) actually have running water in their schools,” says Swindburn-Jones. They’re also improving many towns water and sanitation systems, equipping health care centers with basic supplies, and in some communities they’re provide computer training.

While Iraq is predominately Muslim, Swindburn-Jones says, “People see our actions, that speak very loudly. One of the areas where I travel into, they weren’t quite sure to make of our organization, they say that we can see the great work that we’ve done in their communities and they can see that it’s our heart that counts. We’re driven by the work of Christ and they can see what a great thing that it is.”

If you’d like to help World Vision’s work, go their website WorldVision.org or call (888) 511-5698.

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