This past Sunday was a blessed time as we joined churches around the nation in showing our love for the millions of refugees in Syria and surrounding areas. I am so thankful for the hearts of this church who care deeply for those suffering in the midst of the Syrian crisis. Also, I am extremely grateful for your generosity during the special offering on their behalf. Your gifts fromSunday totaled $13,800. That amount combined with other donations given since our prayer vigil in September brings the total giving on behalf of refugee relief to $20,520. Praise God!
These funds will be divided evenly between two organizations working on refugee relief. First, the National Refugee Sunday effort was planned by a conglomeration of Christian humanitarian organizations. (The website, which has more details, is http://wewelcomerefugees.com.) The lead organization in receiving and using donated funds is World Relief. They have a lot of experience in working with refugees, both in the States and abroad. They are on the ground in the Middle East, working with local churches and organizations, where they provide training and resources. Our donations will be used for immediate aid (food, shelter, blankets, etc.) for the millions in refugee camps around Syria.
The other half of our donations will be sent to the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). They are working with churches, churches with legacies spanning centuries, in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Greece to provide aid for those fleeing Syria, Iraq, and other areas in the region. They focus on providing food, shelter, sanitation, counseling, and education for refugee children. You can see more about IOCC and their efforts at http://www.iocc.org.
Thank you once again for your generosity and concern for the millions suffering in this crisis. Please continue to pray for all the refugees in the Middle East, along with the persecuted church, and for us to be a welcoming people here in Abilene.