In this issue of the newsletter
New: Tragedy in Bethlehem delays start of our Christmas programs
New: Riots in Jordan force change of location for Christmas programs.
New: Some Christians living in the birthplace of the Lord are starving
Update: Work continues at new orphanage location as Christmas celebrated
Christmas for Refugees Tragedy
By William J Murray
Bethlehem event postponed: One of our Christmas programs had to be canceled because of a tragedy involving a family that would have participated. The deaths of two children from the church where the event was to occur stunned everyone.
Pares, age 2 and his sister Meya, age 4, died from exposure to pesticide in an apartment building. A tenet beneath them sprayed about 30 packages of phosphine-type pesticide in his apartment and went on vacation. At most only one package should have been used. The poison seeped into the apartment above, killing the two children and sickening the parents.
Our Christmas event, scheduled for December 22nd was moved to January 4th to allow for the church to mourn the loss of the children.
The pesticide, which is illegal, was used because it is cheap. The poverty in Bethlehem and other towns where Christians live in the West Bank is striking. The average salary in the West Bank is about $800 a month compared to $3,500 a month in Israel.
On average someone working in Israel earns over four times as much as a worker in the West Bank, and Christians have even lower paying jobs. The costs of basics are about the same.
The income of Christian families in the West Bank is lower than that of Muslims because of prejudice and official discrimination.
Each year there are fewer Christians in the West Bank as they migrate to wherever they can to find safety and prosperity. This has occurred for decades. Don’t look for Palestinian Christians in the United States. Our government favors Muslim migrants.
There are now 500,000 Palestinian Christians and their descendants in Santiago, Chile! Our ministry is doing what it can to encourage Christians to stay in the Holy Land, but it is difficult for them.
Riots in Jordan: Our Christmas programs had to be postponed and some moved in Jordan because of riots over fuel prices. Four police officers were killed in the riots including a deputy chief.
What started as demonstrations over an increase in the price of fuel turned violent as members of terrorist organizations became involved, according to authorities.
Our Christmas programs were held, although some later than planned. Photos from programs in several nations are below.
Nigeria: “Happy Birthday Jesus” is the celebration at the Jos Christian Refuge for Children. Rather than a traditional Christmas celebration we hold a birthday party for Jesus at our orphanage.
This year one of the favorite events for the children was a pony ride. One pony was brought in for the younger children to take turns riding around the orphanage grounds. A couple of “bounce houses” were also rented for the children to play in.
The center of the activities was Gospel themed with singing and Scripture memorization contests. There was also a special Christmas meal for the children and a very large “Happy Birthday Jesus” birthday cake.
The best Christmas gift of all for the children is their new home, a home that is safe from attack by Muslim terrorists. Located inside a large city like Jos the children have no fear of the Fulani herdsmen running cattle through the orphanage or setting fire again to their meager belongings.
Almost everything the children lost when the Miango orphanage was looted and burned has been replaced. The children have new Bibles, new beds, new clothes and are united with each other. At Christmas there was true joy among the children.
Transition home: The day you receive this newsletter my wife Nancy and I will be in Nigeria. The most important aspect of my being in Nigeria this time is to work on a solution for the graduates from Jos Christian Refugee for children.
The official Nigerian government agency, the National Bureau of Statistics reports that 42.5%, or about 22 million Nigerian youth aged 15 to 34 are unemployed. The national unemployment rate is pegged at 33%. Those numbers are the reason for the concerns I have for the 18-year-old graduates from Jos Christian Refuge for Children.
What do we do? March the 18-year-olds to the front gate and tell them goodbye? We can’t do that. Better solutions must be found.
Some of the 2022 graduates are living with the father of our orphanage director. Local Board of Directors members of JCR4C have taken in others.
I can’t make promises that I can’t keep to the graduates. Right now, we are working on putting together the costs that will include the annual rental of a large house, plus the hiring of a Christian couple to mentor the youth and help them find job training and employment.
Meanwhile I am working with partner ministries in Benue State to create a hostel and job training opportunities.
The JCR4C graduates are on fire for the Lord. Wherever they work they will be witnesses for Jesus and will win the lost over to Him. Jesus is alive in their hearts, and it is our duty to help them take that message to the lost.
Please pray for the JCR4C orphans and all the Christians of Nigeria.
Christmas for Refugees
Our 2022 Christmas for Refugees events were a major success. Thousands of Christian children were able to celebrate the birth of our Savior in six different countries.