VBB containers bring hope as airstrikes continue

By April 21, 2016
(Photo courtesy Vision Beyond Borders, Iraq)

(Photo courtesy Vision Beyond Borders, Iraq)

Middle East (MNN) — Christians in Syria face atrocities from Islamic State and some 45 other terrorist groups within Syria. There are no ‘good guys’ in this battleground.

An ISIS counterattack spilled over several refugee camps displacing a wave of refugees toward Turkey. At the same time, the slight reprieve that allowed some Internally Displaced People (IDPs) to leave Syria looks like it’s coming to an end. Intense fighting in Syria has left a six-week-old ceasefire in tatters.

Vision Beyond Borders’ partners are coordinating their refugee response throughout the region, and working across conflict lines to provide critical aid under extremely dangerous circumstances.

The people they’re helping seem to want out now. VBB spokeswoman Dyann Romeijn explains, “The destabilization—I think a lot of people thought that they could wait it out inside the country and even those people are beginning to come out.”

VBB containers: a welcome sight

More than 12 million innocent people are in need of humanitarian assistance — and an entire generation of children is at risk. Vision Beyond Borders shares the following from a contact who visited the Iraqi refugees recently:

“The level of stress and worry is high and on the rise. Parents are unable to provide for their children’s basic needs of food, water, clothes and education. It appears the world has forgotten about them, and their conditions keep worsening. Many of the organizations that opened to help them have left the country, leaving them to fend for themselves.”

Romeijn confirms, “People do get weary and leave, but our ministry partners are the ones who—they were born and raised there–they’ve lived there, they were called to ministry there and are persevering for the long haul.”

(Photo courtesy Vision Beyond Borders, Jordan)

(Photo courtesy Vision Beyond Borders, Jordan)

VBB shipped six 40’ containers and are preparing to ship several more. “The latest two just arrived within a couple weeks of each other. One, into northern Iraq, and then one also into Jordan,” notes Romeijn.

Most of these containers have hygiene packs, basic medical items, clothing, blankets, bedding, and food.

“They left, truly, with nothing, and these are middle class families, just like we would be. They can’t get their refugee status, so they can’t get jobs, they can’t work and earn their own money, even though they’ve done that their entire lives, and so they rely on us.”

She adds that school supplies are also in the containers, because, “There’s a lot of children that are there with no ability to do schooling or anything. We’re working to help them get the tools that they need so parents and people like that can help teach the children.”

What now?

Now that the containers have arrived, the distribution of supplies is underway in both Jordan and Iraq. Partners have already given away 700 food packages and 250 hygiene packs, along with the blessing of a hot meal.

(Photo courtesy Vision Beyond Borders)

(Photo courtesy Vision Beyond Borders)

Their aim is to comfort and support as many Christian refugees as possible. They are also reaching out to Muslims. From their contact, a brief thank-you: “Thank you for your compassion…You are a constant encouragement to all of us…May the God of peace be with you and those you love.”

These simple items are reminders of God’s love in the midst of suffering: not forgotten, not abandoned.  Kindness and generosity plant seeds of hope in a wasteland. Now, more than ever, prayer support is needed.

Several months ago, VBB shared a story about a local evangelist who was asked by a reporter if it was true that people were coming to Christ in the hundreds. He replied, “Not in the hundreds. Not even in the thousands. People are turning to Christ in the hundreds of thousands.”

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