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3 Ways to Help Refugees in the Middle East

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Sami Yacoub, regional director of Focus on the Family Middle East, shares his experience working with displaced families and refugees in the Middle East and three ways you can help.

How could anyone respond to a child’s cry to return home? What words could comfort a mother who under the haste of escape forgot her baby behind, and couldn’t return to get him?! Would she ever be able to forgive herself? Who can bear the tears of men who lost everything and suddenly became unable to provide for their families?

What Bassel, Medhat and I experienced during our visits and talks (Sept. 30-‚ÄêOct. 5, 2014) with the displaced Iraqis in Amman and Erbil is much more than limited words can express.

Since the outbreak of the conflict in Anbar, Iraq in January 2014 and the fall of Mosul in early June, an estimated 1.2 million people have been displaced.

Listening to the displaced individuals’ agonizing stories, horrifying memories and questions about the future, deeply impacted our hearts and spirits. That is why I cannot remain silent. Allow me to give you a brief synopsis of my experience in Iraq… one which I will never forget. A needs assessment was made based on individual interviews with displaced families and through discussions with leaders of NGOs and local churches.

The Need:

Housing:

Only a few displaced families are fortunate enough to stay in UN-‚Äêsponsored governmental camps. The number of families currently accommodated in camp settings constitutes only 1% of the total number of families currently displaced. The vast majority of displaced families assessed to-‚Äêdate, are currently living in public parks, church yards, old school buildings, and basements of unfinished buildings. This is where help is most needed especially during the harsh winter season in Kurdistan.

Accordingly, we decided to designate 50% of the gifts that reached FOTF to provide housing for displaced
families who are not residing in camp settings, for a period of at least six months. The cost of hosting one family in one room of a shared apartment is $1500 per family.

Food and Basic Necessities:

Since many relief organizations supply humanitarian assistance (health, food, and non-‚Äêfood items), we want to designate 30% of our funds for the same kind of help, but for disregarded groups of refugees who don’t get such assistance regularly.

We’d like to designate the remaining 20% for medical emergencies, providing educational and recreational activities for children, and strengthening the capacity of the local church leaders in Amman, Jordan and in the Ankawa district in Erbil, who accepted the responsibility of providing spiritual services to the displaced people in their ministry areas.

Our Commitment:

As a start we made the following commitments:

In Jordan: We are currently working with a church we visited during our trip; the Church of Grace, at “Al Mahatta” district (a suburb in Amman).

This Church is a “distribution” church.
We met Pastor Jody Miller, who has been a missionary in Amman, Jordan for the past 16 years. He explained that they unexpectedly got 74 extra families requesting food parcels, while not having any further capacity to help them! I believe we were there at the divinely appointed time to join this church’s effort to help with food parcels for the extra families.

We agreed to help the church to provide food parcels for 180 families at the cost of $5,000 monthly.

In addition, we agreed to pay for the purchase of 1,000 blankets, whether bought locally or shipped from Egypt. One refugee shared that blankets are better than kerosene heaters, as they can’t afford paying for the kerosene!

In Erbil: We are working with local leaders through the help of “Baptist Global Response” (BGR). Below is the list of the initial assistance we promised to provide. Once this list of actions is executed, we will expand to different help actions depending on the availability of funds.

  • Housing: 24 apartments for 72 families x $1500 per family to cover rent for 6 months.
  • 40 tents for 40 families at $480 each + one heater at $75 per tent.
  • 1,000 blankets x $15 a piece.

A Homeschooling Pilot project:

One of the displaced groups we met with was led by a school principal who has 30 years of experience as a principal! The group also includes 12 teachers. This inspired us to encourage the principal to start a daily educational program. This will include preschool, and afternoon classes for older children, serving all 70 children in that particular camp.

The estimate cost for this project is $20,000 to purchase equipment, chairs, desks, teaching materials, etc. We are still in the process of acquiring governmental permission. We pray that such an initiative could set the standard for other displaced groups to do the same. I’m working together with two Jordanian professionals to provide a Christian education curriculum. Updates will follow once the plan is confirmed.

The completion deadline for all the above-‚Äêmentioned aid activities is the end of October 2014.

Our Commitment to Meet Other Personal Needs:

Moved by the pressing needs of many of the families we met, we made individual commitments to help. One woman must undergo urgent surgical removal of her uterus and needs $1,000 to do so. Another man is at risk of losing his sight due to glaucoma and can’t afford surgery. My son Bassel suggested we hire a Kurdish teacher to help displaced families learn the language to better integrate at their new location. These are just a few of the very personal needs that individuals shared with us personally.

We are committed to meeting those needs, which no one else will ever learn of.

Closing Reflections:

Behind every man and woman, young and old person we spoke with there is a painful story that breaks the heart. All stories repeatedly ended with questions like: “What sin did we commit to be forced to abandon our homes and land?” “Will we ever have the chance to go back home, and if ever possible, how can we return to live once again amongst our Muslim neighbors who betrayed us and looted our properties?” Only God knows the answers to these questions.

We were told about many young ladies and little girls who were taken by force from their families at checkpoints during their escape. Some were sold in the market (human trafficking) and others were given to ISIS jihadists as war loots! The evil crushing that ISIS practiced on entire villages of Christians and Yazidis is unprecedented since the fist days of Islam!

Yet, it was amazing to see many of whom we met able to express a unique courage and high spirit. They were sincerely praying for their persecutors to know Christ! It was obvious that most of them have minimal Biblical knowledge, many of them may not be regular churchgoers, and most may not even be considered “believers” by our standards. Yet these heroes of the faith refused to deny Christ and sacrificed everything— literally everything, to continue bearing His name!

How You Can Help:

  • Be an advocate. Erbil is vulnerable to another displacement as ISIS is just 35 kilometers away! Please let the world know about this human catastrophe before it happens again. One of the people we met cried out, “How can the world’s conscience remain silent about what happened to us?” “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31: 8-‚Äê9).
  • Pray, pray, pray! When Cain killed Abel, the Lord told Cain that his brother’s blood cries out to Him… the cries of those who were slaughtered for their faith are crying out to the Lord. Please pray for children who lost their fathers and families who lost loved ones. Pray for the thousands who have no idea what their future holds and have literally left everything to follow Christ. Pray for the girls and women subjected to human trafficking. “Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord. “I will protect them from those who malign them.” (Psalm 12:5). Arise, oh Lord!
  • Give as the Lord leads you. Our hearts are filled with gratitude to the Lord for the $400,000 we received towards this critical cause. Yet the need remains greater and the more funds we have available, the more families we will be able to rescue.

Kindly send all US-‚Äêbased donations to Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, CO. Details available upon request.

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Tactics front cover

Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. In Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition, Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to artfully regain control of conversations, keeping them moving forward in constructive ways through thoughtful diplomacy. You’ll learn how to stop challengers in their tracks and how to turn the tables on questions or provocative statements. Most important, you’ll learn how to get people thinking about Jesus.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 1

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

As a latchkey kid, Wendy Speake turned to sugar for comfort. Every Friday, she would pedal to the candy show and use her allowance to fill her bag with candy. And one day, when she was older and a mom of three young boys, she came to realize that she was still “pedaling” away from her stress and using sugar as comfort, instead of turning to Jesus. She was joyless, worn out, tired, and in need of a change. In this interview, Wendy will challenge Christians to take 40 days to focus on fasting from something they turn to instead of Jesus for comfort. She invited people to break free from a dependence on sugar and taste the goodness of God.

Author Wendy Speake smiling as she holds up her book "The 40-Day Social Media Fast"

Mrs. Wendy Speake

With a background in Hollywood as a trained actress, Wendy Speake ministers to women as a bible teacher by applying the power of drama, poetry and comedy to the study of Scripture and real-life application of biblical truths. She has co-authored two books with Amber Lia titled Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and their latest, Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something New. Wendy is also the co-author (with Kelli Stuart) of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom.

Cover image of the book "The 40-Day Sugar Fast"

The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation

Welcome to the 40-Day Sugar Fast, a fast that begins with us giving Jesus our sugar and ends with Jesus giving us himself–the only thing that can ever truly satisfy our soul’s deep hunger. On this 40-day journey you’ll learn how to stop fixating on food and other things you use to fill the voids in life and instead fix your eyes on Christ. Anyone who runs to sugar for comfort or a reward, who eats mindlessly or out of boredom, who feels physically and spiritually lethargic, or who struggles with self-control will discover here not only freedom from their cravings but an entirely new appetite for the good things God has for us.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 2

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life – from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. He’ll share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of life’s toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. W. Lee Warren

Dr. Lee Warren

W. Lee Warren, M.D., is a brain surgeon , inventor, Iraq War veteran, and author of I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, winner of the Christian Book Award®. His previous book, No Place to Hide, was included on the 2015 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Recommended Reading List. Dr. Warren has appeared on The 700 Club and the CBS Evening News, and his writings have been featured in Guideposts magazine. His Dr. Lee Warren Podcast, which is heard in more than 60 countries, helps listeners use the power of neuroscience, faith, and common sense to change their lives.

Cover image of Dr. Lee Warren's book "I've Seen the End of You"

I've Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon's Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science—and between death and hope—as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 1

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

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Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!