In this issue of the newsletter:
Update: Murders of Christians in Nigeria increase / Our efforts with orphans continue
Update: Christmas for Refugees matching gift fund will double gifts to program!
Update: Changes in the Diapers for Refugees program / Special needs overwhelming
New: Why do so many youth and young adults in Iraq need adult diapers?
Matching Gifts Boost Christmas for Refugees
Generous supporters pledge $97,225: During July and August when just about no one is thinking about Christmas, a small band of very generous supporters of the Religious Freedom Coalition set up a Matching Gift Fund for Christmas for Refugees 2019!
The total needed for Christmas this year is $385,000 and includes more than 12,000 Christian children in the Middle East plus the orphanage in Nigeria. The cost per child is about
$30, but that is for much more than a Christmas party for one child.
Each child also receives a useful gift that is age and gender specific and the child’s family receives necessities depending upon location. In most cases that is a box of hygiene items.
The first week of October I sent a letter to you and other supporters of the Religious Freedom Coalition announcing the matching gift program. That was just a week ago and there are no results in as yet.
I hope to give you a complete update in the next newsletter.
Bethlehem: There is also a desperate need to help the remaining Christians in what is referred to as the “West Bank.” I mention repeatedly in my letters to supporters that most Christians in the United States do not understand that Bethlehem is officially no longer in Israel.
Please mention to your Sunday School class the fact that Bethlehem, the birthplace of the Lord, is not in Israel. It is very important for Christians in the United States to learn that crucial fact so they will understand the true needs of the Christians remaining in the West Bank.
Bethlehem, Beit Sahour and Beit Jala were all major Christian towns in the “West Bank” just a few decades ago. Christians were the clear majority in the “West Bank.” Now Beit Sahour is the only village remaining that is majority Christians.
Bethlehem is now a part of a special protectorate under the PNA (Palestinian National Authority which is actually the renamed PLO or Palestinian Liberation Organization). In 2018 President Trump cut off all funds to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank which includes Bethlehem.
Holding Christmas events for the Christians remaining in the “West Bank” is extremely important. It brings hope to the Christians who are still there. The events also send a message to their Muslim overlords in the Palestinian Authority that the Christians have not been forgotten. That message helps to stop the persecution of the Christians remaining.
Christmas in Bethlehem: I am holding back some surprises for the Christmas events in the “West Bank” to be held this year. We are planning on holding events in new areas where
Christians are a true minority such as Ramallah.
The headquarters of the Palestinian Authority is in Ramallah and it is forbidden by Israel for any Israeli to travel there because of the danger to them. There, in the headquarter city of the Palestinian Authority we can deliver a message to “West Bank” Christians that we support them.
Changes in the Diapers for Refugees program
Buying diapers in December is a problem: Supporters of the Religious Freedom Coalition have helped solve a huge problem.
In previous letters and in the Chairman’s Report I have mentioned that the timing of the December purchase of 500,000 diapers each year and fund raising for the Christmas program conflict. The bottom line is that it has become very difficult to fund both the Christmas program and the Diaper program in December.
The good news: Generous supporters of the Religious Freedom Coalition allowed me to buy a four-month supply of diapers in September instead of a three-month supply. This means
we will not need funds for another 500,000 diapers until January.
Every year we have bought diapers in bulk in March, June, September and December. Starting in 2020 the dates will be advanced one month. In 2020 Diapers for Refugees will make the bulk purchases in January, April, July and October and that will take off the pressure of raising funds for both the Christmas and Diaper programs in December 2020.
Shocking need in Iraq for special needs diapers even for young people
Why so many? Why is there such a horrific need for adult special needs diapers in Iraq?
One of the reasons for the need is physical injuries suffered during 18 years of continuous war in Iraq.
In a previous issue I told the story of Intesar (38), a paralyzed mother of two who receives adult diapers from our Diapers for Refugees program. She was paralyzed when hit by crossfire between American troops and Islamic State terrorists.
But cases like hers do not explain the large number of young people born with neurological disorders and other issues the last 10 to 15 years that cause them to need diapers the rest of their lives.
I am beginning to understand the cause and it is not going to go away.
Many of those born with neurological problems have high levels of uranium and thorium in their bodies. Some close to American bases have radiation levels in their teeth 28 times greater than normal. A lot of the ammunition we used in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan was made out of depleted uranium.
“Depleted” sounds safe, but there is no such thing as uranium that is not radioactive. Even the raw ore coming from the ground is radioactive.
But there is a bigger issue. Chemically, uranium causes the same problems that lead does.
Uranium mines are not safe and mining companies take steps to protect workers. Safeguards are mandated by the Federal government. The state of Virginia has the largest reserves of uranium in the nation and will not allow mining because of the dangers.
A mining association report says that uranium ore “…has chemical toxicity similar to lead, so occupational hygiene precautions are taken similar to those in a lead smelter.”
In other words, the uranium can cause the same neurological damage as lead even if it was not radioactive, which it is. Yes, it is a small amount of radiation. The problem is the length of exposure. Children near American bases and in areas where there was heavy combat are showing the signs of neurological damage.
I am not judging the kind of ammunition our military forces use in Iraq or elsewhere. I am no expert on what is effective. All I know is that we need a lot more diapers for special needs children.
In the middle of preparations for the Christmas for Refugees program I can’t work on the special needs’ diapers program … but I promise you I will beginning in January. This problem is not going to go away.
There are many elderly who did not receive proper medical care during the last two decades who now require diapers. There are many middle-age and young who were injured in bombings and shot by the Islamic State. Then there are the younger ones that break my heart because they will never have normal lives.
The suffering of these younger Iraqi Christians is not abstract for me. My wife Nancy and I have been in their homes. We have prayed with them and we have promised them help. I intend, with the help of the Lord, to keep my promise to them.
Nigeria: Murders of Christians continue
Stop the slaughter: The slaughter of Christians continues in Nigeria while Western leaders and Western media say nothing. Even a threat against a mosque is big news in the United States, but the murder of Christians because of their faith is no news at all.
Examples from Nigeria this year:
May-June: In Jalingo, Taraba State. 65 were killed, 9,000 displaced, and 15 churches, two primary schools and a health center destroyed during attacks on 18 predominantly Christian villages.
July: An estimated 282 people were killed and 97 kidnapped.
August: Five pastors were reportedly abducted by Fulani herdsmen on their way to attend an annual church conference in Ogun State. On Aug. 29 Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed five Christians and destroyed many homes in an attack on Kiri, in Kaduna’s Kaura County.
Those are some of the attacks that we know of. Most are not even reported in the media in Nigeria. Virtually all of the attacks are in the northern Nigeria states that are controlled by Muslims and have Sharia law.
A Bright spot: The orphanage children harvest corn. I hope to have a lot of photos of how our farm is doing in Nigeria in the next newsletter … but … I had to share this precious photo I received just a few days ago of the younger children at the orphanage harvesting the first of the corn crop.
The teachers and counselors at the orphanage who are mostly volunteers are overjoyed by how the situation with the children has changed with our help.
As the crops come in the children eat well and learn to be responsible for themselves as well. They have learned how to take a weed filled plot of ground and turn it into a productive farm that feeds them.
There will be a Christmas program at the orphanage again this year. Right now the plan is to provide the same level of Christmas program as last year. The gift the children will receive has not been decided on as yet. One year every child received new shoes.
Next mission to Nigeria: I had hoped to visit our supported projects in Nigeria this year including the orphanage in Plateau State, but my travel schedule to the Middle East has been consuming this year. As of now I am planning a mission trip to Nigeria in March of 2020.
Please pray for our programs to help persecuted Christian youth.
William J. Murray, President