Leaders living and ministering in contexts of poverty and pressure have few – if any – financial reserves in the event disaster strikes. If an earthquake, tsunami, fatal disease or war hits their area, it is impossible for Partner Schools to carry on with ‘study as usual’ in the midst of chaos, trauma and grief.
Existing ministry partners are supplied with development aid in the event their geographic area is hit with a disaster of significant proportions. This enables them to bring profoundly practical leadership to their communities by being the ‘hands and feet’ of Jesus.
Esther*, Bequaa Valley, Lebanon
"When I leave my house, I don't think of danger. I think of the refugee families who need love. I think of Jesus, who was our Suffering Servant and example.”
The Suffering of Little Jaber and others like him - February 2019
Operation Ray in the Storm for Syrian Refugees this Winter
Our Partner Esther* who ministers to Syrian refugees in Lebanon has again reached out to us for help. Here in New Zealand we're enjoying a long hot summer, but the Beqaa Valley with its shack and tent settlements is experiencing one of the most severe winters in ten years. It's hard to imagine it even gets cold in Syria and Lebanon, but recently the snowfall was 100% for 24 hours with temperatures of -6 degrees, and severe flooding.
To cope, Esther and her teams have had to significantly increase their distribution of basic necessities (food, clothes, baby supplies, medical assistance) to the hundreds of families they support, and in particular fuel to help keep them warm. She shares the following story, which perfectly describes the dilemmas their workers frequently faces:
"As we were walking from one tent to another we met one of our little students, Jaber. Jaber comes to our [the ministry's] educational center because he was not accepted at any school in the area. We were shocked as we saw him shivering from the cold weather with no hat and jacket to wear. It was also surprising for us that although we gave Jaber a hat and a jacket at the start of winter he told us that he does not have them anymore. Upon further investigation we learned that his mother is selling Jaber’s clothes! This is terrible! However, when you know that his father is disabled and cannot earn any money and that the mother is selling Jaber’s clothes to bring bread... for the family of 9, you will have another perspective on the suffering of Jaber!"
A small child living in a tent in temperatures of -6 degrees, with no more covering than a T-shirt and jumper is an absolute tragedy! The results of a war on innocent people are bad enough, but that children and families continue to suffer in this way is one injustice heaped upon another.
Esther has launched "Operation Ray in the Storm" to help women, young mums, the elderly, babies, children and young people stay warm and well in the midst of the severe cold weather; have a direct experience of how the love Christ extends to them in such tough circumstances; and enable the core activities of the organisation to continue with significantly reduced interruption over the next few months.
Since 2010 Esther and her organisation and teams have been the 'hands and feet of Jesus' by providing family counselling, skills training, social services and relief aid to hundreds of families and thousands of people who have fled to Lebanon to escape the terrors of Syria's war. They focus on the economic, social, and developmental needs of women, young mothers and children.
But this particularly bad winter has pretty much brought the various development projects to a standstill. Sewing schools, special needs education, mother-care training, trauma counselling and the like are on hold as the team scramble to ensure that none of the sick, young or vulnerable die.
Esther is asking for our help. Please would you send Esther a gift to enable her to help others? We know that you care and will be prompted accordingly to act quickly!
Esther's calculations show that Operation Ray in the Storm needs NZ$50K to get through the winter season. We want to send as much money as we can to her, and would love to include your gift. For children and families in tents trying to cope it'll certainly be a ray of hope in amidst a storm.
Thank you in advance, and every blessing to you as you "do for the least of these".
How you can help
Your gift cares! Your gift enables leaders to take compassionate action and bring the practical love of Jesus to children, families and others in their community who are suffering as a result of a sudden disaster. Our current focus is on supporting Esther* working with Syrian refugee families in Lebanon, and in particular helping them get through winter living in tents.