It started with a phone call from the daughter-in-law of a pastor in southwest Virginia. We had held several mission conferences at their church, so they were aware of needs overseas. Hannah left a message sharing that she felt very burdened for the Syrian refugees. She had been praying and wanted to know what else she could do to help.
By Sue Morris
I called her and referred her to the collection list to send needed supplies for the refugees. I could tell she was not satisfied with that idea. The church had done many projects to help our overseas ministries.
So I reminded her not to dismiss the power of prayer. I told her that a ministry partner who works with the refugees would be in the office soon, and I would ask for specific prayer needs she could pray for.
When the ministry partner came, I grabbed two minutes in the hallway with him to ask for specific prayer needs for the Syrian refugees. I was hoping to follow up another day with a more detailed discussion. (Little did I know that we would not have more time as their schedule was full.)
The prayer requests came rapidly. “Please pray for wisdom for us to know how to minister to the refugees. We need creative ideas for how to help them. Please pray for protection for us when we go in the camps. Pray for the families who have had children die while they were fleeing for their lives. Pray for the children—some have lost the ability to speak. The trauma of being refugees has caused great fear in the children. Some are wetting the bed, even teenagers. Some are losing their hair. Pray that we can meet their physical needs, so we can have an opportunity to share Jesus with them.”
I was a little overwhelmed with the rapid response. Obviously, the needs are great and urgent. This man did not have to pause to come up with that list. What he has observed and carries in his heart is painful to think about. But the refugees are living with those problems and more day by day. The UN estimates that refugees live in exile an average of 12 years. (I think it is terrible if we are without power for 24 hours after a snow storm!)
I quickly added the prayer requests to a letter I had prepared to send to Hannah.
Like Hannah, many people ask, “What can I do?” at ANM. People feel hopeless in the face of so many tragedies in the world. But think about a time you were hurting and someone reached out to you. It could have been a note, a prayer, a hug, a card, a warm blanket, something that told you that you were loved and cared for. That is what the refugees need, someone to care.
Check out the ANM Gift Catalog for ideas of how you can show you care. You can reach around the world with a toothbrush and toothpaste, a Bible, shoes, clean water, a warm blanket. These may seem like simple gestures, but they can be life-changing to someone in need.
Sue Morris is a part-time ANM staff member and part of our women’s team.