December 22, 2015
By Simon Chambers
Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod.
In Matthew 2:13-15a, we read about how Jesus, Joseph and Mary were refugees, fleeing political persecution for the safety of a nearby country. This brief passage in Matthew’s gospel is important in understanding Jesus’ ministry, and has inspired the Church to work to protect refugees for centuries.
PWRDF continues in that work today, announcing this week grants in Iraq and the Central African Republic (CAR) to support ongoing relief efforts through the ACT Alliance.
In 2015, the number of refugees and displaced people in the world grew to over 60 million, a number not seen since World War II. PWRDF, through ACT, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, and our own long-term partners, continues to support refugees in many countries including these two new grants.
In Iraq, PWRDF will support the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Christian Aid, and Norwegian Church Aid in providing relief to 400,000 people who have been displaced by the violence in their homeland and the communities who are now hosting them. The ACT response helps to provide food, water, shelter, health care, counselling, education, livelihood support and more in Sulimaniyah, Erbil, Halabja, Duhok and restricted locations in Federal Iraq.
In CAR, 25% of the population has been displaced by violence over the last two years. PWRDF is supporting ACT members LWF and Finn Church Aid in providing healthy, protective and quality education to 8300 students whose schooling was disrupted when they had to flee the violence. Classrooms, washrooms, and school kitchens and cafeterias are being refurbished or constructed, and school staff and parents trained in hygiene and sanitation and other key issues. The project is also working to prevent tensions and new upsurges of violence between opposing groups through sensitization work in the project communities.
PWRDF has contributed $30,000 to the Iraq program and $30,000 to the CAR program.
Please join us in praying for peace and security for all refugees, remembering Jesus’ time as a refugee and the 60 million refugees and displaced people seeking shelter today.