We have an incredible Peace on Earth announcement! With the amazing support of so many people around the world we have REACHED OUR 100K GOAL!! WOW! First of all we just want to say thank you to each church community, family, and every individual that got behind this project, we have be so blown away by your generosity and passion to reach the displaced and those in need in Northern Iraq. Because of this, our reach is now able to go so much further than we ever thought possible this year. It has been such a privilege and honor for us to partner with Bethel Music in this project and we owe a big thanks to their team for putting in tireless effort and resources into this!
As many of you know, our hope for Peace on Earth was to do the distribution of winter supplies before Christmas to help families get through another winter here in Northern Iraq. Unfortunately because of recent turmoil within the country that caused some delays and also difficulties with visas for the incoming distribution team, we are unable to do the distribution before the end of 2017. Our plan is to push the distribution to within the first couple of months of 2018 and we will be keeping everyone up to date on the progress. Thankfully we were able to do a portion of the total amount raised to distribute winter needs before Christmas in what we are calling Phase 1!
A huge need right now within the displaced communities in Northern Iraq, especially those living outside the camp areas, is for kerosine for their heaters. It has gotten very cold, very quickly, especially in the nights leaving so many families freezing at night. In phase 1 of Peace of Earth, our team was able to distribute kerosine to 54 families with enough kerosine to last each family for a month or more. We will be doing a second distribution of 1 month supply again in the beginning of January to the same community. The area we distributed in was a neighborhood of Syrian refugee families who have been living as refugees for anywhere from 1 year to 5 years. Many of the men and women living there are unable to find work because of being a refugee from Syria, or if they do find work many are not paid barely enough to provide for their daily needs. This neighborhood is filled with beautiful families with so many young children. The look of joy and relief on their faces as we handed them kerosine, one thing that they now don’t need to worry about for a little while. We were able to do some home visits and hear the stories of these brave people and hear some of the things they have been through and are currently facing. We were able to share with some of these beautiful families the Christmas story and pray with those who needed prayer for healing!
Another part of phase 1 was we were able to throw a big Christmas party for the 7 Yazidi families that we sponsor and visit weekly. These families were all displaced from Mount Sinjar 3 years ago when ISIS committed a genocide on their people. They are now living in what was old chicken coup buildings that have been renovated. We have been visiting these families and supporting them for 2 years now! The joy on their faces as all 40 of us sat around a small heater drinking hot chocolate and eating Christmas treats while listening to the story of Jesus coming to this Earth as a baby, the ultimate gift. Thanks to you all we bought all 19 of our children Christmas gifts which they loved so much and were able to purchase enough kerosine to last the first month of winter for each family!
As the last part of phase 1 of Peace on Earth, we have the incredible opportunity to completely winterize a school that educates 400 refugee children! The kids have been going to school in dilapidated caravans with unfinished floors, no electricity or heating. To get to their classrooms, they have to trek through the mud as the winter brings a lot of rain because there are no sidewalks for them. In midst of all this, the kids still go to school and are so hungry to learn. One of our team members visited and saw as the kids were bundled up at their desks and have to put their heads down to avoid the wind from hitting them as they are in class. Peace on Earth is going to provide each class with a new heater, new floors, and provide the school with sidewalks and repair the generator so the the classes will have electricity. Watch for updates on this project in the beginning of January!
From our Light A Candle team, we want to wish each of you a Merry Christmas and thank you for your prayers and your incredible support, it means so much to us!