Disaster Relief & Responding to Crisis in the Middle East
On May 4th, Secretary of State John Kerry – while giving remarks alongside EU High Representative Federica Mogherini – reminded the Assad regime in Syria of their commitment to allow humanitarian aid.
“To date, the regime has consciously and unacceptably blocked food and medical supplies from getting to people in desperate need,” said Secretary Kerry, “and I think it is clear that humanitarian organizations must be allowed access to serve the people who are in need.”
These remarks come on the heels of a horrific attack on an al-Quds hospital in Aleppo, Syria. Doctors, children, patients and medical personnel were killed as explosions turned the hospital, a symbol of hope, into a mound of rubble that looks all too familiar and is associated only with pain.
Oklahoma is a land which has seen its fair share of heart-wrenching disasters – some caused by nature and some by man. While we are privileged to have been spared from an attack by our own government such as this in Aleppo, we are no stranger to terror. Heartbreaking visuals of Syrian men carrying children from rubble remind us of events still fresh in our minds, but in every disaster we face, Oklahomans are quick to respond and give relief where needed.
Where faithful men and women in yellow caps alongside other civilian helping-hands descend on disasters in Oklahoma (and around the world), there is a group of individuals found in white helmets who respond after government air strikes and bombings in Syria. Described on the website as “bakers, tailors, engineers, pharmacists, painters, carpenters, students and many more,” the White Helmets are men and women committed to responding in crisis.
We are so often beleaguered by news of terror and war abroad that we become unintentionally desensitized to the fact that lost men, women, and children are dying without hearing the Good News. I am thankful for the work of our Disaster Relief volunteers and that they faithfully share the Gospel with those whom they help; I am burdened by how easy it is to distance ourselves from the Middle East and those who will not hear the Gospel before the next government air strike.
“What can we do?” you ask. Pray for strength for the White Helmets as they will inevitably face greater distress and terror. Pray that the Father impresses upon the heart of Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria, to allow humanitarian aid to his citizens. Pray that Christians in this area are given endless opportunities to share the Gospel and that the hearts of many will be softened and that they would believe.
Sometimes it feels like we can only do so much, and perhaps in tangible ways we are limited, but we must understand that such tangible aid is that which is limited; the ability to approach our Heavenly Father and intercede on behalf of those on the other side of the globe will render a much more lasting effect.
For more information on The White Helmets, visit www.whitehelmets.org.