Help Syrian refugees in Iraq
The Current Situation in Iraq
Several years ago during the war in Iraq, many Iraqis fled to Syria leaving everything behind. Now with the upheaval and violence in Syria, they have been forced to leave their new home in Syria and return to Iraq. In addition to these Iraqis, many Syrians have also fled to Iraq to the Kurdish part of Iraq. Some are wounded and sick and some have lost their entire families. All are terrified.
Most of the refugees are women and children who live in tents with no heat or blankets and many children suffer from multiple traumas. Those who can afford to rent live in very poor housing that the local people will not live in. Since they are not allowed to work, there is no way the Syrians can earn an income to provide for their families.
There are presently 22,000 refugees from Syria located in the areas served by Shinar Mission. It is expected that in the next six months a million refugees will flee from Syria to various countries, including Iraq.
Why isn’t help getting to the Syrian refugees in Iraq?
Help from the UN, Red Crescent, Red Cross, and NGOs is limited because Baghdad is politically at odds with the Kurdish area, which is partially autonomous from the rest of Iraq. It is believed that the Kurds of Iraq are training Syrian Kurds with the intent to break off their own Kurdish part of Syria. It is assumed that, if that happens, it will encourage the Kurds of Iraq to become even more separate from the rest of Iraq. This assumption is strengthened by the fact that the Kurdish area of Syria already enjoys self-rule. Since Baghdad does not want to encourage Syrians to flee to northern Iraq and possibly create the same situation, it is discouraging aid.
Ministry of Shinar Mission
Christian Aid supports Shinar Mission, an indigenous Christian ministry started in 1999, whose mission is to reach Muslims with the gospel and to disciple Christians. In the Kurdish area of Iraq, Shinar Mission is engaged in Christian teaching and providing material assistance, such as food and blankets. They are unable to meet the needs of all the refugees they encounter, and request prayer and financial support.
Small, local churches in this area work with the Mission to help refugees, but the crisis is so large that they are quickly being overwhelmed. Every day a different church invites some refugees to a church meeting and provides them a meal. A doctor is available to meet with the refugees and dispense medicine. Church members also visit the refugee camps daily to clean, construct temporary housing, share the gospel and distribute Bibles and food.
At present Shinar Mission is delivering only a small amount of assistance to the refugees and there is much more they could do if they had the means. Indigenous missionaries working with Shinar Mission are ready and eager to help mobilize the Christians of Iraq to meet the needs of these displaced people.
Their goals are to meet the basic physical needs and to reach at least 10,000 refugees with the gospel message through personal contact using Bibles, audio cassettes, CDs, DVDs, gospel tracts, food, blankets, etc. They also want to train 10 men and 10 women from a Muslim background to help with refugee relief and to work in church planting.
Shinar Mission's needs for the next three months
- Beds and blankets for refugees living in tents: $5000 for 200 people. One person can have a bed to sleep on with a $25 donation.
- Food: $50,000 for 1000 people. Your gift of $150 can provide basic food staples for one person for 3 months.
- Medical supplies for the volunteer doctors: $5000
- Heaters: $20,000 for 1000 heaters. A $20 gift can supply one heater to keep a refugee warm during winter.
- Bibles: $20,000 for 20,000 Bibles. Your donation of $50 can supply 50 Bibles.
- Children’s Bibles: $15,000 for 5000 copies. Ten children can read the gospel with a $30 donation.
- DVDs: $1000 for 2000 DVDS. A gift of $100 will supply 200 copies of a film about Jesus to show the refugees.
- Worker support: Monthly support is needed for 18 workers
- Transportation of workers to and from the refugee camps: $1000
Strategic Opportunity for Ministry
This is a good time to show many helpless people the love of Christ. Shinar Mission is in a strategic position to do this.
Christian Aid will work to ensure that accountability structures are in place so that U.S. donors can be confident that their contributions are being used wisely. Your contributions will enable Shinar Mission to help ministers reach out to the Syrian refugees who are starting to attend their churches.
How you can get involved: