At Easter we celebrate Jesus’s resurrection which means death has been defeated and God is going to mend our broken world, making all things new. We herald that news by reaching out in the name of Christ to those who are suffering. That's where the Easter Sacrifical Offering (ESO) comes in. Through giving generously to ESO we link arms with brothers and sisters in other parts of the world and join them in ministries of mercy and relief. As we do so we demonstrate the unity of Christ’s body and proclaim the coming of his kingdom. Highlighted below is one of the projects we'll be supporting this year.
Three years after the winds of the Arab Spring blew through the Middle East, Syria teeters on ruin. Internal strife and civil war have forced over 2.5 million people to flee into neighboring countries. Within the country, another 6.5 million have fled their homes. More than one out of every three Syrians is now displaced.
Barnabas Aid quotes one Syrian recounting his flight: “Within a few hours more than 3,000 armed men with covered faces came into our villages…So we left our places semi-naked, with no money in our pockets; we forgot to take our ID cards, our personal documents and official papers for our houses and lands and so on. They were horrible, terrible hours in my memory. I lost everything. But praise the Lord I still have my family members with me and we can start new steps.”
Others recount bombings and beheadings. They have lost homes, livelihood, and family members. A portion of our Easter Sacrificial Offering will go to assist them. The average cost to provide food for a family of four for one month is $60.
We are entrusting the funds to Christians in the region who will extend aid in the name of Christ. Through Barnabas Aid our funds will reach Christians traumatized and displaced in Syria. Working through local churches, Barnabas Aid assists families by providing food parcels, medication, and help with accommodations.
We are also committed to supporting the work of a church in Lebanon which is providing food, clothes, and mattresses to Muslim and Christian refugees in their city. In November, we sent the church funds collected through Tenth’s Project of the Month. A report from their pastor is included below.
Report from Lebanon
In Lebanon, you never know from one day to the next what you will encounter. If it is not massive traffic jams, it is car bombs or kidnapping for ransom or Israeli air strikes. Yet from one day to the next we see God's work in grace in the lives of the refugees. Currently we are working with 860 Syrian families. We are down to our last $7040, which we were able to raise through the generosity of churches like yours.
We have an aid distribution led by our youth. You will see them sharing the Gospel and caring for kids and distributing mattresses, blankets and clothes. We do this same exercise twice a month. One is set aside for distribution of food vouchers. With the funds we have, we cannot meet the needs of all 860 families but we try to help as much as we can.
We also have services for the refugees (average attendance 130). We do not link assistance to attendance. So far 18 have come openly to the Lord, which is no easy thing for Muslims. We are starting to work now on discipleship and soon hopefully baptism. It is difficult work, on the spiritual front, given the tense religious atmosphere.
We are so grateful for the gift from the people of Tenth. It is further evidence of the unity of the body of Christ and the empathy faithful Christians have for the world around them. I will be grateful if you could write a note of thanks in your weekly bulletin from us here.
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