Chairman’s Report for December 9, 2022
In this issue of the newsletter
Update: Christmas for Refugees programs in Lebanon and Syria restored!
New: Christians continue to suffer in Iraq even after Islamic State defeat
New: New water well needed at orphanage – Drilling authorized and funded
Update: The mess on Capitol Hill has not been cleaned up – Meeting with Senator
WE DID IT– Christmas programs will continue
Incredible gifts answer prayer: Just a few weeks ago I reported in the November newsletter that the Christmas program was far behind in fundraising. I even mailed a special letter to supporters detailing the problems this year and asking for prayer and support for the Christmas for Refugees program.
The Lord answered our prayers! I received calls from several supporters who have helped the Christmas program since the beginning! Many long-time supporters called me and pledged to help meet the Christmas matching fund so the funds could be released.
As the Lord led supporters and the donations were received, I was able to reinstate programs that had been put on hold in Lebanon and war-torn Syria.
But the Lord was not done answering prayer and hundreds of other supporters sent gifts to help the Christmas for Refugees program fulfill even more of the goals that had been set for this year.
By December 1st I was able to restore most of the Christmas programs.
Christmas for Refugees is not just Christmas parties and gifts for children. Christmas for Refugees is an affirmation of the Lord to children who have had their childhood stolen from them by Islamic terror.
The programs center around the Lord through presentations, games, contests, music, and an invitation to accept or reaffirm a relationship with the Lord Jesus.
The coloring contest of the Nativity scene is an example of keeping Jesus at the center of every event.
These are children who fled with their families from a routine that included church relationships. Many of the families lost their homes and their churches were destroyed. There are still many places in Syria that are controlled by Muslims who hate the secular state.
Christians who have returned to Syria have found ruin. That is why many of our Christmas programs are now in Christian areas of Syria.
Please pray with me for all the displaced Christians of the Middle East and Africa.
Diapers for Refugees
Suffering Christians in Iraq: The Islamic State may be out of the news cycle, but the destruction and suffering they caused in northern Iraq continues. I visited Erbil and Dohuc and the Christian villages around Dohuc in July. The smaller Christian villages are poverty stricken and many of the jobs Christians held no longer exist.
Many of the elderly live alone or in group homes as younger Christians have been forced to flee. A large number of these elderly need adult diapers to live even close to normal lives.
When I began the Diapers for Refugees program it was strictly designed for infants and toddlers in IDP camps. (Internally Displaced People)
For several years, the program bought diapers in container lots for infants. The program has changed over time, first to supply pads for the mothers of those children and then to supply diapers for special needs adults.
As the IDP camps emptied out we continued to supply infant and toddler diapers in the most impoverished Christian areas. At the same time, the demand for diapers for special needs adults increased because injuries and untreated illness in elderly people increased because of the ongoing fighting caused by al Qaeda and then the Islamic State.
In poverty stricken Christian villages in Iraq I discovered many adults who have been unable to care for themselves since birth, some now in their thirties. Their parents are aging to the point of not being able to care for them. Some are in group homes with the parents.
The Diapers for Refugees program is now supplying 145,000 adult diapers a year to special needs adults at an average cost of sixty-five cents per diaper.
Adult diapers cost many times more than what the infant diapers cost.
Only food is provided at the group homes and care centers for elderly and special needs adults. If family members are available and they can afford the diapers, they are expected to provide them. Many in these facilities have no families left to bring diapers for them.
Overall, the Diapers for Refugees program is providing just shy of one million diapers per year. The program is operating in Jordan, Iraq and in the West Bank towns of Bethlehem and Beit Sahour.
Bethlehem and Beit Sahour are no longer in Israel. During the Bill Clinton Administration they were transferred over to the Palestinian Authority. Almost immediately Christians faced pressures, particularly the ill. Our Heart for the Persecuted Church program not only supplies diapers but also food baskets to elderly who have no relatives and no means of income.
The United States is one of the only nations friendly to Christianity left in the world and that is beginning to change as “woke” is forced upon us all.
Jos Christian Refuge for Children
A problem solved: The children moved from the rented facility to the new orphanage in Jos in October. Then in November we had a severe water problem.
There were two wells on the property when we bought it that supplied water. There were just four families living on the property. After increasing the size of the existing houses and building four additional buildings we moved in 127 children and 18 full and part time personnel. It soon became apparent that we did not have enough water.
The first week of November we had to bring in two tanker trucks of water. There was only one way to fix the problem.
We needed an additional well with greater capacity, new pumps, a new water tower and a larger water tank. In the United States the cost would have been well over $50,000 and it would have taken weeks just to get permits.
Praise God … We were able to drill the well with a new wellhead and pumps as well as build a new water tower with a large tank for just $5,000. The drilling rig to dig the new borehole was in place in just 72 hours after I ordered the transfer of the funds.
A great accomplishment: It was August of 2021 that the orphanage in Miango was overrun by Sunni Muslim Fulani Herdsmen. Within one month the children had been moved into a rented facility. When I inspected that facility in January of this year, I determined that too many major repairs were needed, and the space was too small.
A new location was found, this one inside the majority Christian city of Jos with a population of over 900,000. Adjacent land was needed and a total of three parcels were purchased for a cost of $148,000. The Religious Freedom Coalition paid for the property and spent tens of thousands of dollars for renovations.
My wife Nancy and I have traveled to Nigeria twice this year and plan to return in January.
Nigerian law requires that I have a residency permit to be on the Board of Directors of a Nigerian organization such as a charity.
To make sure the investment made by the Religious Freedom Coalition was secure I formed a new organization in Nigeria with a new local Board of Directors.
The new organization was formed to eliminate any conflicts that could arise from dealings by the old organization’s Board of Directors before I became involved. The formation of the Jos Christian Refuge for Children required that I officially become a Nigerian resident, but I can fulfill that obligation with visits and remain on the Board of Directors of the orphanage.
What we did in Nigeria this year would have cost well over a million dollars in the United States, but wages and costs are low in Nigeria, particularly in this area.
By the grace of God and the generous gifts of the supporters of the Religious Freedom Coalition the children have a safe home, wholesome food and are receiving a Christian education.
Your prayers are still needed concerning this issue: the children eventually age out of their orphanage, and then they need a place to go in a nation that has a youth unemployment rate of over 50%. It is my prayer that in the coming year we will be able to secure at least one transition house in Jos for graduates of the Jos Christian Refuge for Children.
These young peoples’ chances of finding good jobs will be vastly increased if they can have time for some continued training and the ability to give a prospective employer a real address — something many Nigerian youth do not have.
Washington after the midterm election
What a mess: I met with Senator James Lankford (R-OK) yesterday. He was a survivor of the Republicans’ midterm election debacle. Senator Lankford is the current Senate sponsor of the Values Action Team (VAT) that meets to help protect pro-family legislation such as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that is under attack by “progressives” who want to force the “woke” nonsense on us all.
For the last two years I have been able to do very little on Capitol Hill, with Nancy Pelosi in charge of the House and Chuck Schumer in charge of the Senate. Now Nancy Pelosi has had to move down from Speaker of the House, as the Republicans captured the House with a razor thin edge. Yet the true power is in the Senate, and leftist Chuck Schumer is still in charge there.
The Senate will continue to approve all of Joe Biden’s appointments of judges and high-ranking bureaucrats because the House has no say at all in those decisions.
In my meeting with Senator Lankford, I continued to push for a positive outcome of adding Nigeria back onto the list of “Nations of Particular Concern” for religious freedom. Biden removed Nigeria from that list, and the murders of Christians increased as a result.
The words of our powerful nation have force in the world, but sadly, Joe Biden is not using America’s voice for the cause of religious freedom.
The Senate is under the solid control of the Democrats, while the Republicans hold the House. There will now be near total gridlock, with opposing hearings in each chamber. The Republicans will center on Hunter Biden and the Democrats on Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, the issue of religious freedom and protecting persecuted Christians will sadly enough get little attention.
Please pray for all the persecuted Christians in the world, including the Christians of China and Iran, and those facing death in Africa.
William J. Murray, President
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