So many emotions flooded my soul as I visited Jordan and heard stories from Syrian and Iraqi refugees and new friends who are part of the persecuted church – which simply means, they became Christians, and because of that decision their lives are in constant danger, so they are moved around the country to live in safe houses to preserve their lives.
Fourteen days of international travel ended with two days of pure intensity, an intensity that will NOT be forgotten. We heard stories of pain that should never exist, a grief that causes one to question everything.
When you see this kind of pain, you have two options: check out and ignore it, or dive in to the mess and try to help. We simply can’t check out!
When all the pain felt like too much, you saw the light… the flickering flame of these families who looked you in the eye with a smile and a hope that burned bright. Their faith ignited my faith. Without using words, I could tell they were asking this question: will you check out or dive in?
Don’t get me wrong, their hope is also mixed with doubt, fear and a future that is uncertain. Their tears proved that to be true. Their grief was evident. They carry the pain of death as they stared ISIS and civil war in the face and saw the deepest of all evils, a demonic evil that can only be overcome by LOVE that refuses to let evil reign.
How to Help?
What could I do for these people? What can Help One Now do? These are the questions rolling around my conscience.
I’m thankful for brave people who choose to go to hard places to help those who have suffered so much. These brave leaders, need to know that they don’t have to go it alone. They need a tribe; a group of friends who will journey with them, suffer with them, share the burden with them, support their work, tell their stories well and rally behind those who were left for dead. But they are not dead, they are alive and they need a future. These folks are willing to fight for that future, but they cannot fight alone. Maybe we can help them chase their future again. Maybe we can give them a sense of purpose and a place to belong and a reason to hold on to hope in the midst of all the pain they have experienced.
One of our main agendas at Help One Now is to always be on the lookout for high-capacity local leaders. They are the lifeblood of our mission. It can take years to build a powerful relationship, trust and a like-minded vision. Also, with our new Family Empowerment Program, we needed to do some research and understand if the program could help bring hope to the refugee crisis.
I needed to see it, feel it, understand it… this is why I went. Often, to be committed to a cause you have to feel the pain first hand. Just like the little boy at the gas station 11 years ago in Zimbabwe… I felt his pain and I knew I could never go back. I knew we would spend the rest of our lives fighting for orphaned kids at abandoned gas stations. We will never stop. We will never check out.
To the persecuted church, I see you.
To the refugees, I see you.
To those who are trying to serve them, I see you.
The HON team has spent years trying to find effective ways to help the orphan, help the trafficking survivor, help the vulnerable family. Now, we may finally have a way to help the refugee. No doubt, I believe we can do the most good in the world by empowering families so they can flourish. We now know that we can, in fact, empower refugee families through our seven-step program that helps them launch a business and sustain themselves. It’s exciting to know that widows, refugees, orphans (as they grow into adults), and families living in extreme poverty, can all participate in this empowerment program… and once they are done, they will have a strong sense of hope and a tangible way to provide for their future!
It may take years… but we are committed to finding a way!