(Photo courtesy Global Aid Network)
International (MNN) -- Imagine being forced from your home with nothing but the clothes on your back and what you can grab on your way out the door.
That’s the life of a refugee.
Nearly 60 million refugees and IDP’s in the world are looking for help, looking for food or shelter, looking for a warm embrace and hope that everything is going to turn out okay.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports one in every 122 people are displaced.
“Right now, there are more refugees and people who have been displaced from their homes than any other time in recorded history,” says Mark Gaither of Global Aid Network
Men, women, and children are being forced from their homes and countries as a result of natural disasters and the brutal forces of terrorists, war, and persecution. Fathers, mothers, and children wonder what’s going to happen and how they’re going to survive the next wave of terror.
“They’re traumatized, they’re afraid, they’re confused,” Gaither says.
The UNHCR says the war in Syria has caused the largest amount of people to become refugees at 3.88 million, and 7.6 million to become IDPs.
The largest refugee-hosting country in the world is Turkey, at 1.59 million refugees.
“With huge shortages of funding and wide gaps in the global regime of protecting victims of war, people in need of compassion, aid, and refuge are being abandoned,” Antonio Guterres of UNHCR said.
Global Aid Network is working with partners in refugee-stricken countries and asking for help to make Summer Survival Kits.
(Photo courtesy Global Aid Network)
The Refugee Summer Survival campaign was started as an effort to help 8,000 individuals survive for the first 21 days of being exiled from their home or country.
Each kit includes food, clothes, shoes, blankets, and any other necessary items.
“We (on average each year) ship out about 50 to 60 containers…. We also wire money through our partners there. Sometimes it’s easier for them to get access to aid within the country, and then purchase it and deliver it,” Gaither says.
GAiN’s main focus is on Middle Eastern refugees. GAiN is working in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Southern Iraq. But they’re also working in East Africa, North Africa, and Nepal. The ministry is letting the Gospel speak and take action, and making refugee camps sanctuaries.
“In that state, when [refugees] run away and run to a place where there’s somebody waiting for them with open arms… that says, 'We love you. Jesus loves you.'”
Many of the refugees who are Muslim are perplexed at why GAiN is helping.
“They ask, ‘Why are you doing this? Aren’t we supposed to be your enemy?’ We delight to tell them that we are there on behalf of Jesus--somebody they hear as a prophet, but not as a savior,” Gaither says.
“We tell them that we’re doing this because He loves them and because God wants to have a relationship through Jesus with them. That kind of grace is so rare and is so disarming that it’s regarded with suspicion at first.”
Gaither shares the example of a Muslim man in Turkey. He had wanted to fight against ISIS, but was told that he was too old, so he settled in a refugee camp.
When GAiN showed him kindness, he wasn’t sure if their work was serious, but they continually brought necessities and didn’t pressure anyone to convert to Christianity.
“It’s this kind of ongoing effort that eventually he begins to question his own belief and consider who Jesus Christ really is because His followers are so different from how he thought they were,” Gaither explains.
Christian ministries' work is proving to be an effective way to share the Gospel.
In a 2014 article, missionary and author David Garrison estimated around 2-7 million Muslims have converted to Christianity in the last two decades. A big part is because they’re seeing the grace and kindness coming from Christians.
Those numbers are only growing with an estimation of 16,000 Muslims converting everyday.
“When we help people in other parts of the world, and we bring the kind of aid that we’re bringing, it says something very powerful to them. It says that this belief that we have in Jesus is not just word; we’re not just another tribe,” Gaither says.
“We are followers of a man who is God who cares about people.”
GAiN has a goal of $320,000 to provide for 8,000 refugees. The Summer Survival Kits are $40 for a person to survive 21 days – that’s less than $2 a day.
Will you help?
Pray for refugees’ safety from violence and natural disasters, and for them to find the love and goodness of God.