The need is greater than we can fill: I really wanted to expand the Diapers for Refugees program in 2017 but for now we are staying with our initial program of delivering 160,000 diapers every three months to Christian refugees families with infants in the Erbil area.
The program is filling the needs of about 300 families. Tight records are kept by our ministry partner. With the help of refugee camp leaders, a list is maintained of every family with a child needing diapers. On that list is the name of the parents; the name of the child or children; the age of the child or children; the village they came from; and the number of the caravan they have been assigned to live in.
I watched the process when I was there in December. Our diaper deliveries are conducted in March, June, September and December. Because of that schedule, I was present for diaper distribution while there for the Christmas for Refugees events held for the older children.
During one of my visits to a refugee center, I saw two young children dressed in red and white for Christmas carrying home diapers for their mother who is to the left behind them in the photo at right. Parents do their best to try to make Christmas normal for their children.
The families try hard and the men who are still with their families look for work every day or volunteer for ministry work. These are hardworking, caring Christian people. Given the chance the Christians of Iraq will rebuild as they have every time since 638 when Muslims first invaded and destroyed their homes and churches.
Women’s personal needs: One area I have wanted to expand the Diapers for Refugees program in was to help with women’s feminine pads. This is a taboo subject in the Middle East and as a result there is a great need.
As part of the Christmas for Refugees program the family of every child who participated received a large box or heavy plastic bag of hygiene materials in December. In with the soaps, shampoos, disinfectants, laundry soaps and other supplies were feminine pads. Some of the women visibly cried when they saw what they were getting.
At some point, funds permitting, I want to add feminine products as a part of the Diapers for Refugees program. This is just the second year of the program and we do not want to expand too fast, particularly in an unpredictable year of a brand-new presidency.
Please pray with me for the Lord to guide us how best to help the persecuted Christians of the Middle East.