The Chairman’s Report for March 26, 2021

In this issue of the newsletter
Update: Post cards to Biden demanding action in Nigeria sent to all supporters!
New: We build classrooms for Nigerian Christian children in displacement camps
Update: Religious Freedom Coalition supporters back Nigeria and diaper programs
Update: Adult diaper delivery to disabled Christian elderly in Middle East

Demanding that Biden continue Trump policy on Nigeria

More Biden post cards mailed: Post cards demanding Joe Biden do something to stop the persecution of Nigerian Christians have now been mailed to every supporter of the Religious
Freedom Coalition and to all those receiving this newsletter.

Tens of thousands more of the post cards have also been mailed to social conservatives whom I believe support our cause to help persecuted Christians.

A lot of damage is being done with executive orders by Joe Biden, not just regarding Nigeria, but also the safety of Americans. He has made it more difficult to protect our nation from Muslim terrorists.

By executive order Joe Biden has lifted what he called “Trump’s Muslim travel ban”. By lifting the ban on travel from Nigeria, it is now possible for the same individuals now persecuting Christians in Nigeria to travel to the United States.

I am urging you to please sign and mail the post cards I sent to you directly to Joe Biden. Please do not send them back to me. These only have impact when they are mailed directly to the White House one at a time. That way Biden’s White House staff must handle each of the hundreds or even thousands of cards that arrive each day.

Inside Nigeria

The Nigerian orphanage: Please pray for the children of the orphanage who are in a state of trauma caused by shocking attacks by Sunni Muslim Fulani herdsmen nearby. The killings at a store that is sometimes visited by staff and older children really caused great fear. Most of the children at the orphanage have lost one or both of their parents to Islamic terror, and the vicious murders at the small store resurrected memories of the attacks at their own homes.

Feeding plan: The Religious Freedom Coalition is continuing the feeding plan for the orphanage again in 2021. This is the third year we have supplied funds for meals with protein for
every meal.

Volunteers check on the crop at Nigeria orphanage during 2020 season.

Prior to our taking over the responsibility of feeding the children, their only protein food was two eggs per week. All other meals were mainly gruel, which is a form of hot cereal. The gruel occasionally had some fish meal added to it, but children cannot grow with so little protein.

Currently the cost of the meals is $3270.00 per month. In addition, we have funded the operation of a farm for the past two years to supply potatoes, corn, peanuts, and vegetables.

Benue State IDP Camp: Tens of thousands of the Christians driven from their homes by Islamic terror fled to Benue State because it is 95% Christian and has a Christian governor and legislature. Unlike the northern Nigerian states that have Islamic Sharia law, Benue is operated as a fair and open secular state.

But Benue State is faced with a real crisis in housing and feeding tens of thousands of Christian refugees who were run off their land by Sunni Muslim Fulani herdsmen or the Boko Haram. There is no aid from the central government.

The IDP camps have no schools except those operated by non-profit organizations such as the one operated by the Tiv Tribe. The king and queen of the Tiv Tribe are Christians, and the current king was the first to be sworn in on a Bible. The Tiv Tribe’s non-profit is offering a Christian based education for kindergarten through sixth grade at the IDP camps.

The teachers are volunteers from the Tiv Tribe and most of the classes will be outside in the sun, or in the rain during rainy season.

I have spent some time talking with Queen Felicia Ayatse and she appealed to me to help build some of the buildings to keep the children out of the sun and rain. The cost is not that great, since labor in Nigeria is not very high.

One building with three classrooms can be built for under $30,000.

The modest building contains three separate classrooms.

The cost per child of textbooks, workbooks and book bags ranges from $39.25 per child to $52.50 per child depending on the class level, with the highest cost being for 6th grade. But at this point the primary goal is to build some of the buildings.

With funds that were previously donated for Nigeria, I can authorize the construction of one building at an IDP camp. But I believe we can do better than that, as there are thousands of displaced children who need some form of education, and their education is better available from the Tiv Tribe which is the largest in Benue State and Christian in nature.

Please pray with me for the expansion of this program to aid displaced Christian children.

Supporters’ Poll

Nigeria and Diaper program lead: At the end of January, I mailed a questionnaire asking the supporters of the Religious Freedom Coalition which of our programs they believed our team should focus on during 2021. The plan was to report the final results in this newsletter!

The United States Postal Service had a different idea. In some cases, it took weeks for questionnaires to reach supporters. Back in mid-January we also mailed year-end receipts to everyone who sent donations in 2020. In early March we were still receiving calls from supporters who had not received their 2020 donation records!

As a result, we have not received enough of a response from the questionnaire for me to be confident of the outcome, but there are indicators.

So far “Trust God” to direct our efforts is clearly number one in points followed by the Nigeria missions program and the Diapers for Refugees program.

Petitions (post cards) to Joe Biden came in 4th which is interesting because the post card to Biden is related directly to Nigeria.

I am confident that Nigeria will remain in one of the top two slots that name individual programs. This has given me real confidence in going ahead with the plan to immediately begin
construction of one of the classroom buildings at the IDP camp for displaced Christians who have fled to Benue State in Nigeria.

The results of the poll tell me which programs are most important to supporters of the Religious Freedom Coalition. It is important to me to know where your heart is, regardless of whether the programs are foreign missions or advocacy on Capitol Hill.

Sometimes, as is the case with Nigeria, the missions programs and the advocacy efforts will tie in with each other. We seek to help the Christians that have been forced from their homes by Islamic terror, and at the same time push our government to do something to stop these Christian families from being terrorized and left homeless.

Something must be done, or soon organizations such as ours will not be able to aid the Christians of Nigeria in the hot spots of persecution which are getting worse.

Screenshot of video released by Islamic State showing execution of Christians in northeast Nigeria (2021).

Open Doors, a Christian aid group, did an analysis of the killings of Christians worldwide in 2020 and found that 60% of those killed for their faith were Nigerians who died at the hands of Islamists!

The study reported that more than 2,200 of the 4,761 Christians murdered around the world in 2020 died in Nigeria because of Islamist attacks.

But it is far worse. Many of the murders of Christians are not reported. It is difficult to know the exact number of Christians martyred each year, but I am sure it is far more that that reported by Open Doors and others.

In the next newsletter I hope to report on the full results of the supporters’ poll.

Middle East Missions

Diaper program: Our Diapers for Refugees program is still curtailed by Covid-19 which is severe in the Middle East. There is no access to Western produced vaccines except in Israel
and in wealthy Gulf States such as Saudi Arabia.

In Jordan a Chinese vaccine is being used, and our main missions director there has had both shots because of his age. It does not much matter though that he got the shots — because he can’t go anywhere anyway, with most functions in Jordan still shut down.

Iraq is a mess, and I was incredibly surprised that Pope Francis travelled there in March, although I am thankful that he did. Pope Francis called to the attention of the world the plight of Christians in Iraq in a way that the mainstream media in the West has refused to do for decades. The Christian population of Iraq has been decimated since the second occupation by the United States began in 2003.

Despite the difficulties, there are successes in places such as Bethlehem and Beit Sahour in the West Bank.

West Bank: Diapers are being provided for a number of elderly Christians living in a nursing home operated by the Antonian Charitable Organization. And at the House of God shelter for children with special needs, diapers are provided for 24 handicapped children suffering from mental and physical problems. The shelter provides the children alternative nonstop care. Third, the Greek Orthodox Church in Beit Sahour (Shepherds’ Field) received diapers to help 10 vulnerable elderly individuals living in poverty and in need of daily necessities. Many of these vulnerable adults are residing in the St. Nicholas nursing home in Bethlehem.

Jordan: Because the adult diapers are so expensive and the need is so great, we cannot do mass distributions. Each case of need is looked at by our ministry partner in Jordan. Just one example is an elderly Christian woman who lives in the town of Safout. She suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure, and had a stroke that caused paralysis. She is unable to move.
Diapers and wet wipes are provided to her daughter regularly to care for her.

There are dozens more cases of Christians in such need, many of them refugees from the Iraq and Syria wars that have injuries that cause them to be unable to control their bladder or bowels. There is no medical aid for refugees other than from relief agencies. Jordan, just like Lebanon, is simply too poor to care for the medical needs of refugees.

Iraq: Our Diaper program for Assyrian Christians displaced from their homes and jobs in northern Iraq costs out at over $13,000 per month and includes diapers for unemployed Christian families with infants and elderly who have no other place to go for the diapers they need so badly.

Back to “normal.” I am not sure what normal will be like in six months or one year. I would like to see the Diaper program back to distribution centers as it was before. In Iraq, Jordan and the West Bank diapers must be delivered to homes and care centers because of government restrictions. This makes our work difficult, demanding and exposes workers to illnesses.

William J. Murray, President

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