Middle East (MNN) — Some problems are just too big for human hearts to handle. We’ve been talking about the refugee crisis for years now, and as violence continues, it’s not getting any better.
But despite the exhaustion of country resources and especially emotions for the refugees and those bringing aid, many organizations continue to work faithfully.
Vision Beyond Borders (VBB) has been helping with humanitarian aid in countries hardest hit by an influx of refugee populations. This includes container shipments to Jordan and Northern Iraq. The containers provide basic supplies—clothing, blankets, hygiene supplies, medical supplies.
They are collecting for their next shipment and hope to continue to provide relief. We spoke with Dyann Romeijn of VBB for updates on the situation.
Access into countries
There are often a few snafus along the way when sending supplies to other countries. While Jordan is relatively easy to reach, Northern Iraq presents a few challenges.
First, the shipments must be sent through Turkey. Then, they have a lengthy process of validation.
“Because ISIS is also working in that area, it has to go through a lot of checkpoints and be checked at each of those areas to make sure it’s not going to help terrorists, but that it’s truly humanitarian assistance.”
Romeijn says this is expensive because of the nearby danger. And, because it becomes expensive, relief agencies are not sending as much aid into Northern Iraq as other countries.
It’s obvious that refugees are in need of physical aid as many of them fled home with nothing more than the clothes they were wearing. What’s not often considered is the pain they face from having to leave their home in the first place.
“It is a difficult situation. Many of them may never be able to return home, and they’re beginning to face that now. So there’s a lot of physical need, and just because of the sheer number, it’s been difficult for countries to assimilate the refugees into their countries,” Romeijn says.
However, with these physical and emotional needs, there are spiritual needs as well. Nominal Muslims want to hear about Jesus. In many cases, refugees are coming from countries where it’s not okay to talk about Jesus at all. So in these camps, they’re hearing the Gospel for the first time.
“It is a time when we as Christians need to step up. We need to be out there, we need to be showing the love of Christ and meeting the needs of these people, and it gives us the opportunity then to speak into their lives and to show them the truth of Jesus Christ.”
Vision Beyond Borders assists with Bible printing and distribution in these countries. This project and the containers require funding. If you’d like to help with that, click here.
Another way you can help is by donating humanitarian goods. Some churches have organized hygiene pack drives, others have ordered bulk supplies sent directly to Vision Beyond Border. For information on this, click here.
Perhaps you don’t have the resources to help with either of the first two action points.
But, you can pray
“We need a lot of prayer support for the workers who are on the ground, for our contacts who are actually working there day in and day out with the refugees. They need prayer support. There are a lot of needs, and so it can become overwhelming and discouraging.”
As mentioned, this is an ongoing crisis that seems to have no end. It’s easy for all of us, those who see it firsthand and those who watch the headlines, to have compassion fatigue. Romeijn says this is why it’s crucial we remember who we are in Christ and be confident in Him.
“The burdens are too big for any person to carry, and it’s too big for anyone to solve. So, if we start looking at it from a human standpoint, it can be overwhelming.
“But yet, to understand who God is and His sovereignty and His power and that even in these most horrible things we can imagine, what we see is when people show the love of Jesus, when they show the compassion, it actually defeats and dispels the darkness.”