Chairman’s Report for July 29, 2016
In this issue of the newsletter
Update: Christian youth in Jordan enjoy updated summer camp
Update: Islamic terror shows its ugly face in Jordan as Syria war continues
Update: Again in June 99% of Syrian “immigrants” to USA are Sunni Muslim
Update: September diaper delivery in Iraq as Christmas planning begins
Youth Camp brings Jordanian children closer to Jesus
When I traveled to the Middle East the second week of July, I stopped to visit the summer camp for Christian youth which the Religious Freedom Coalition has supported for over a decade. The Camp is doing very well this summer, and the help you and other supporters of the Religious Freedom Coalition have given is very evident in material changes that make things better for the children.
The entire purpose of the camp is to bring children and youth closer to the Lord, to enable them to grow in their faith as they become adults and to stay true to God’s Word. Not much more is needed than a place to sleep, safe food and water, and the many volunteer counselors that participate every year. Of course the counselors as well must have livable quarters to be rested and able to bring the Word to the children and youth.
One big improvement this year was new refrigerators and a freezer for the camp kitchen. The refrigerators we furnished this year are the first
commercial refrigerators the camp has had in its 30-year existence. Later I will go into that history which is most interesting.
The camp serves different age groups on different weeks, and the day I arrived at the summer camp so did 70 new faces of six, seven and eight-year-olds. Just about every one of them had a small roller bag, and it was sort of comical to watch them charge up a dusty hill toward their bunks. Each bunk room, which is a stand-alone unit, accommodates ten children, although perhaps not at the standards found in an American summer camp. Five mattresses on opposite sides of the room are placed side by side with no separation. For the children it is just about the greatest thing going!
Some of the children I saw were Syrians whose parents had escaped the advance of the Islamic State, and they were being sponsored by the Religious Freedom Coalition. The conditions in which refugee families live in the slums of Amman are often horrendous, and I was overjoyed to see these kids getting a few days in the beautiful mountains outside the city to have outdoor fun and grow closer to the Lord.
Rule one at this camp: No one can become a counselor unless they were at one time a camper. And there are plenty of volunteer counselors.
That’s because so many lives have been changed at camp. In fact, there are new lives because of the camp. I have met and been told about several couples who first met as counselors at the camp, who now have wonderful Christian marriages and children.
One former camper owns an accounting firm and takes care of the accounting for many Christian organizations in Jordan. He was a camper at Camp Emmanuel which was the predecessor to its current name. He came back to the camp as a counselor. He proposed to a fellow counselor and has been married now for more than twenty-five years and has three children. He still volunteers his time there.
The accountant, Amer, told me, “The camp is a powerful tool for the churches because it brings children to leadership roles. Many of those who
developed a close relationship with the Lord at the camp have become pastors or have led as examples in other areas.”
Another graduate from the Camp back in the 1970’s later became a successful businessman and raised the funds to start a non-denominational Christian school just outside of Amman. He raised two million dollars to build the school which opened two years ago.
On one occasion a police captain, in full uniform, came to pick me up at my hotel and drive me to the airport for a 3:00 AM flight, simply because he wanted to do something to serve the ministry. These are the kinds of servant leaders the camp is producing.
In 1974, my good friend Isam Ghattas founded the first camp. Ten years later it was too small and did not serve the needs of the children. In 1985 the new location was opened much further out of the city on the edge of the Jordan Valley and the name was changed to redacted. Many ministries have helped over the years. The Religious Freedom Coalition began helping just after the second Gulf War. As many ministries were forced to withdraw aid because of the worldwide economic downturn in 2008, our aid has increased.
Badly needed repairs from more than twenty years of hard use. We stepped up and replaced the water system in the camp that had consisted of galvanized steel water-tanks on the roofs, replacing them with state of the art PVC. The tanks, which are filled weekly, had rusted through and insects could fly in and out of them.
We replaced canvas sides of the bunk rooms and even mattresses that had been in use for more than a decade.
The goal is to continue to help this gem of a Christian institution that changes the lives of so many young people, many of whom come from very marginal Christian homes, in one of the last nations in the Middle East that is somewhat safe. I say “somewhat” because Islamic extremism and terrorism have found their way to Jordan. (The name of the camp was changed and/or removed for security reasons.)
TERROR IN JORDAN
King Abdullah, a longtime friend of President Assad of Syria, turned against Assad five years ago at the urging of President Obama and the promise of a large infusion of cash and military equipment from the USA. The King was told by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that “Assad’s days are numbered” and he (the King) needed to be on “the right side of history.” Clinton promised that CIA and Saudi led forces would oust President Assad in a few months. That “few months” has turned into five years of death and destruction for the Syrian people.
The really big problem facing Jordan now is that the United States can’t seem to decide who to back during the ongoing fighting in Syria. Sometimes the United States changes sides literally in the middle of a battle.
According to a Washington Post article about one battle in Syria, “Aircraft assigned to provide cover for the offensive launched June 28 to capture the eastern Syrian town of Bukamal, were ordered in the middle of the operation to leave the area and head instead to the outskirts of Fallujah, in neighboring Iraq…” The U.S. backed “rebels” who were making progress against the Islamic State at the time were driven back more than 50 miles after air support was pulled.
The result for Jordan is hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria, the great majority of them Sunni Muslims. Women in burkas were not common in Jordan before the influx of the Sunni Muslims from Syria.
I have visited the rehabilitation facilities of some of the wounded Sunni mercenary fighters – not being very honest as to my mission. The clinics I visited were operated by the Muslim Brotherhood which is an enemy of the King. A lot of the “refugees” are young men of military age. Then there is the issue of the hundreds of Jordanian jihadists (maybe thousands) who went to Syria to fight and are now returning.
Internal problems once uncommon in a stable nation such as Jordan, are now appearing.
There have been three terror attacks in Jordan in the last two months against Jordanian security forces, including one in which six men died and many were injured. The cause of the Islamic State attacks is the same as in Turkey. When Jordan was helping arm and train what is now known as the Islamic State on behalf of the United States, ISIS would not attack Jordan. Now, Obama has ordered Jordan to fight the Islamic State, which brings retaliation. The people of Jordan can be thankful that so far only security forces and not civilians have been targets.
The Islamic State strategy of only attacking security and military personnel could change, and that would be a disaster because the security at hotels, malls and even the airport in Amman, Jordan is lax. Security guards checking the cars entering hotels and checking people entering malls are often older retired men who are unarmed, except for cell phones to call for help.
Hotels and all tourist and religious sites are referred to as “soft targets” by security officials. In Jordan those sites are much softer than in most Middle Eastern nations. During my July trip to Jordan I met some officials at a restaurant known to be frequented by high ranking military and government elites. There was zero security at the door.
The American Embassy, however, is secure. The embassy, in which I have been a guest, is larger than the largest mall in Amman. It covers what would be several city blocks, and the complex contains several buildings. Each time I have been there I have been searched and my camera and phone taken from me, even though I am an American citizen.
In the guest hall is a large “rainbow” flag showing it as gay friendly.
Just 8 of 2,300 Syrian Refugees to USA were not Sunni Muslims
President Obama continues to bring in Sunni Muslims: In the last newsletter, I wrote that the figures for May showed President Obama’s Administration brought in 2,037 Syrian refugees of which only two (2) were Christians! The figures are in for June and they are just as shocking. Once again 99% of the Syrian “refugees” are Sunni Muslim.
The lack of victims of Sunni Islamic oppression among the Syrian “refugees” being admitted stands out, but goes unreported by the media. Not even Fox News will report on the influx of only Sunni Muslims. Of course one of the major stock holders of the parent company which owns Fox News is a Sunni Muslim who is a Saudi prince.
Each month President Obama is increasing the number of Syrian Sunni Muslims he brings to the United States, even while his Administration declares that it is the Christians who are the main target of genocide by the Sunni Islamic State in Syria.
Over ten percent of the Syrian population is Christian, and this does not include the tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians who fled to Syria looking for a safe haven after the invasion of Iraq in 2002 and the Sunni uprising against our occupation forces there that cost more than 600,000 lives, almost all of them civilians.
At least 230 of the June batch of Syrian refugees statistically should have been Christian, and actually more than that because they are the single most persecuted group.
Over the last year, on average Barack Obama has allowed two Christians from Syria to enter for every 1,000 Sunni Muslims. To put that in perspective the ratio should be 100 Christians out of every 1,000 refugees. That would be 10%
The Post Card Campaign: Our new post card campaign demands that Congress amend the bill that currently funds Syrian refugees to stipulate that the victims of genocide, the Christians, receive priority. Already, thousands of Religious Freedom Coalition supporters have signed and mailed the cards to their congressman and Senators. I have already been contacted by Senate staffers surprised that anyone is interested. Well, I have news for them … AMERCANS ARE INTERESTED!
THE CHRISTMAS AND DIAPER PROGRAMS
December is close and September is closer: We have committed to deliver another truck load of 160,000 diapers to Christian refugees in northern Iraq. The last delivery of the year will be in December at about the same time as the Christmas program begins.
We are increasing the number of children in the Christmas program in Iraq from 600 to 2,600. This is a huge increase, but last year at one camp I was brought to tears by the number of children who came to the Christmas event location because they heard the music. Children we could not invite because the funds just were not available.
Please pray with me that the Christmas and diaper programs will be fully funded for 2016. I will increase the number of children we reach with your help and prayers.
William J. Murray, Chairman
Religious Freedom Coalition, 601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW #900, Washington, DC 20004 * (202) 742-8990
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