By Debbonnaire Kovacs, posted Aug. 26, 2015

Everyone who pays any attention at all to the international news knows that there is an enormous refugee crisis in the Middle East, due particularly to ISIS-caused violence. Syria is especially hard hit. Mercy Corps reports that as of July 20, 2015, there were 4 million Syrian refuges in five host countries, and more than 15 million who need assistance, both inside and outside Syria.

These people, many of whom were living a life that would look fairly similar to what the Western world would consider familiar, have had to leave (often at gunpoint) their homes, belongings, even dead loved ones, and flee for their lives. Now, most of them are packed into makeshift refugee camps, depending on the charity of others. It is such a huge problem that we can easily become completely overwhelmed, if not paralyzed. What can we do?

One thing we can do is support ADRA. These dedicated souls are on the ground all over the world, not preaching, just helping. Here is one such story.

Early this year ADRA Canada opened a new office in Kurdistan, in Northern Iraq. When James Astleford, Executive Director of ADRA Canada visited the new office, he said he was unprepared for the beauty of the land in northern Iraq, but even more unprepared for the “horrors of all the hundreds and thousands of people whose lives have been disrupted by the conflict going on in the region.” According to the graphic on the Mercy Corps site above, 242,468 Syrians had fled to Iraq alone, as of that date.

ADRA Iraq wants to help, but they also want to be wise. In order to keep their workers safe, Astleford said they belong to a consortium who monitor such things as military movements, so they can choose the safest routes to get anywhere. They do their best never to pass through areas of active conflict.

Of course they are incredibly busy offering whatever physical assistance is needed; handing out food, blankets, clothing, toiletries, and other necessary supplies to care for the bodies and health of those they serve. But they do far more than that.

ADRA believes in souls of people God loves and Jesus died for. So they also offer schools for children as well as support groups for women and for men, seeking to help the people adjust to the disruptions they face, “to give them the courage and the strength to go forward,” Astleford said.

I have purposely made this article shorter than usual, to encourage you to watch the ten-minute video  of his interview. It will both inform and warm you.

To read more about this:

https://www.adra.ca/programs-in-iraq/

https://www.nadadventist.org/ [Note: You must scroll down to the Viewpoints section to read this short article.]