Chairman’s Report — Thanksgiving Day, 2013

A Christmas Dinner for Refugee Kids in Jordan

            Making that special day even more special – Our first ever Christmas meal for refugee children from Iraq and Syria will be held in Amman, Jordan this December. More than 950 children from different families will receive a traditional Arabic Christmas dinner and a “joy bag” of food stuffs to take back to their homes in the tents of the refugee camps.

Tens of thousands of Christian families with children have escaped the attacks of radical Islamic groups in Syria and are now in Jordan and Lebanon. Mostly well-educated and middle class, they now live in the tents supplied by the United Nations and are mostly ignored by the Islamic run charities in Jordan. There are so many Christian children that we cannot help all of them, but we can make one special day brighter for some of them by arranging a traditional Christmas meal for them.

The Religious Freedom Coalition has obtained a place for a day in December to provide a Christmas meal for refugee children and some of the parents as well. As this will be a Christian event, many Muslim children who are refugees would be afraid to attend. However, any child who is able to come is welcome to participate in this celebration of the Savior’s birth.

Each child will be given a “joy bag” to take back to their family containing at least a week’s worth of food including rice and beans. The children will also have a warm place to stay for a day, rather than in the cold wet tents they have become accustomed to. Volunteers from Jordanian churches will decorate the room with a Christmas tree, lights and table centerpieces. There will also be games to play and Christmas songs and music.

This will truly make this Christmas a day to remember for these children, a special day to celebrate the birth of the Christ child in Bethlehem which is just 45 miles from the place in Amman where this dinner will be held.

No American style turkeys are available in Jordan, but the dinner for the children will have the festive foods they are familiar with. A typical meal is usually rice with chicken and other meats along with vegetables, yogurt/bread and kanafe for dessert. The joy bag given to each family will contain rice, oil, pasta, cheese, milk, sugar, tea, halawi dates, and candy.

I will be present for the dinner in Amman, Jordan to make sure all the children we can reach out to and invite have a special day at this time of year which is so meaningful to all of us, when we celebrate the arrival of our Lord and Savior. I will leave the United States just two days before the event and come back the day after. Because of the time change I leave New York at 10:00 PM.  Even with flying non-stop, I do not arrive in Amman, Jordan until 6:00 PM the next day. I will also be carrying with me important medical and other supplies for our mission to Christian refugees in Jordan.

A special Internet site has been set up at www.ChristmasForRefugees.org to explain what we are doing and raise additional funds. Please share this with your church and friends!

Jesus, the First Christian Refugee — Jesus was really the original “Christian refugee.”

The Redeemer whom God had promised to send for so many years was finally born in Bethlehem, the city of David, yet he was threatened with death from the day he was born. His mother Mary and Joseph had to flee their homeland, much like the Christian refugees of today have been forced to flee the homelands they have lived in for two thousand years.

“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.’”  (Matthew 2:13 – NKJV)

Jesus, as a small boy, knew the pain of fleeing a bloody land where the innocent were slaughtered.  He saw the terror in His mother’s eyes as his family fled at night, hurriedly and quietly under the cover of darkness for fear of discovery. A death sentence had been issued by Herod the Great for him and every male child under the age of two.

“Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.” (Matthew 2:6)

Just as Satan tried to destroy the Christ child through human instruments, so he has been on a campaign ever since to destroy the church of Jesus Christ. One of the very first churches founded outside of Israel was in Damascus, Syria, about 130 miles from Jerusalem where our Saviour sacrificed himself on the Cross that we all might have life eternal with God the Father.  We know about the faithful Syrian congregation because the zealous rabbi Saul was on his way to Damascus to arrest believers there when he encountered the risen Christ.  It was in Damascus where God changed Saul’s name to Paul and equipped him for the mission of evangelizing the Gentiles.

In Syria, the church grew quickly until it and the surrounding countries were overrun by conquering Muslim armies in the 7th century. For almost 1,400 years the church existed under the heavy yolk of their Islamic overlords, seen as outcast “dhimmi” and second class citizens. Still, they were in most times tolerated to one degree or another. Not since the original Muslim conquest, have Christians in Syria been as brutally targeted as they are today.  All over the country, Christian neighborhoods, churches and schools lie in heaps of rubble, and people fear to walk the streets in broad daylight.  Just on one day, November 12, two separate Christian schools in Damascus were fired on by rebels with mortars, killing and wounding many children.

It is not only Syrian Christians who have come to the refugee camps of Jordan seeking safety. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians fled Iraq during their civil war to a supposed “safe haven” in Syria.  Now, they too, must flee again to Lebanon, Jordan, or whatever small places of relative safety are left in the chaotic Middle East.

The children in the refugee camps in Jordan that we will be ministering to have escaped death, and for the most part physical wounds. Yet they still bear wounds in their hearts and minds from all the fear and confusion they have seen, and from the pains of hunger and homelessness.  Jesus has always been present for those who were refugees or “outsiders.”  During his ministry on earth, He constantly came to the side of those who were supposedly “outcasts,”   whether they were women, foreigners, sinners such as adulterers, or even tax collectors.

Most Christian refugees today are “outsiders” as was Jesus.  His allegiance was not to this world.  Like the Christians of today who are fleeing Islamic oppression, Jesus was an outsider in a strange land, for his true home was not of this world, but his heavenly home.

“He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.”  –John 1:11

Jesus identifies Himself spiritually with our brothers and sisters who are persecuted and in flight even today. In Matthew 25, He said that anyone who showed mercy to those in need was somehow showing it to Him.

“For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;” –Matthew 25:35 (NKJV)

As Christians, we must reach out to our brothers and sisters in Jesus who are suffering. While evangelism is important, aiding our family in Jesus is also commanded in the Scriptures.

Of the millions of refugees in the world, MANY are our “brothers and sisters” in the Lord!  As history repeats itself, many Christian refugees face the ultimate affliction themselves.  Jesus foresaw and related to their suffering:

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.”  – Matthew 24:9

As we here in the United States gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, in what is still for the most part a free, law abiding and bountiful country, we should pause to remember our fellow believers who have no settled home, no place of real safety for themselves and their children,  not even enough to eat.

Christians are the most persecuted group in the world today, and not just in these Muslim nations.  Christians suffer in such diverse places as  India and North Korea as well. It is our turn to sacrifice for our brothers and sisters in the Lord. We are not yet required to give our lives for our faith, but we should be willing to give of our fortunes to feed and clothe our fellow believers who have seen their neighbors, even family members murdered; who have been threatened and forced from their homes after watching centuries old church buildings being desecrated and looted.

Yes, evangelism is important, but making the lives of our suffering brothers and sisters a little more bearable is at least equally important. As the Christ child reached out to touch each of us, so then should we reach out and touch the lives of those in the persecuted and suffering church in the Middle East.

Back in Washington           

            A godless military? – Nothing could possibly be more dangerous for the people of any nation than to have a paid professional army that is godless. I am not criticizing the brave men and women that we currently have defending this nation today, but I genuinely fear the American armed forces of tomorrow, as Christians and Jews flee the services.

Since the first shot was fired at Concord, even before a United States existed, this land was defended by citizens. Up through the Korean and Vietnam wars the vast majority of the military consisted of men and women who served short periods with very little pay. Many were drafted into the service and taken from their farms, factories and offices to serve for the defense of our nation. Each was sworn to service on the Holy Bible, giving an oath to God to defend the Constitution of the United States.

While the draft is officially on the books as a backup, the military has been an all-volunteer, well paid professional force since 1973. Many of our front line service men including those in the Navy Seals and Army Rangers are in their thirties. Almost all are devoted Christians, most from rural areas, committed to serve out of a sense of duty and faith.

The Administration of Barack Obama is radically changing the military in such a way as to drive off believing Christians and Jews and replace them with anyone who will take the cash to serve. The radical leftist views of Barack Obama are making the US military the only force in the world that orders women onto front line units. (YES … This is no longer a volunteer issue. Obama has directed that women can be ordered into front line military units, including elite Marine and Army units.)

President Obama has fired and replaced more generals than all presidents before him combined. The generals in charge now do not believe that homosexuality is a sin, and that alone should scare every Christian in this nation.

In Congress I am working with various congressmen and Senators to try to slow down the fast moving train that is converting our military forces into a godless, highly paid professional entity. In just a few days I will be meeting with Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX) who served seven years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. Congressman Johnson is trying to pass legislation that will prohibit the Administration from removing “so help me God” from the oath of service.

General Boykin, who now serves as Vice President of the Family Research Council, is also working on the issue of protecting chaplains who refuse to endorse homosexual acts. I have met with him on that issue as well. This is a critical issue that must be addressed.

Finally, please keep abreast of all that the Religious Freedom Coalition is involved in at www.ReligiousFreedomCoaltion.org, and at the two Facebook pages we manage. Links to all of our stories are also tweeted from @RFCNET.

William J. Murray, Chairman

            Religious Freedom Coalition, 601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW #900, Washington, DC 20004

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