"He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt." - Deuteronomy 10:18-19
There are some long-term crises in the world that go unreported by the news in the U.S.
There are families suffering from myriad natural and man-made causes who are largely ignored by the media. Here at IDES, we want their story to be told. It is ultimately our mission to meet their physical needs and open the door to meet their spiritual needs with the love of Jesus Christ.
One of the most under-reported situations in the world right now is the Myanmar Refugee Crisis. Thousands of families are currently living in extremely impoverished conditions with little access to food and clean water due to being forced out of their homes by warring Army and rebel groups. The violence has continued in the country for several decades now.
"These families have been displaced from their homes by the fighting between the rebels and the Myanmar army. In addition the monsoon season has created conditions which did not allow them to forage for food adequately," one mission partner in Myanmar reported. "The landmines in the area also create reasons for not foraging in the jungle."
In years passed, many families sought refuge in the larger cities. But recently, our mission partners have noticed that these families are more often settling in smaller communities and camps, spread across the borders of the country with India, Bangladesh, and Thailand. It seems clear that this new settlement pattern allows for families to better manage finding food, water, and shelter. It also allows for our mission partners to more effectively provide physical relief and share the Gospel.
"The hands of God were upon the help which we have given and non believers even received the message and prayer...some of the people are part of the untouched tribe in the country and this time they have heard the gospel message from us and ministry partners will continue to share with them," another IDES partner said.
Because of the generosity of the donors and supporters of IDES, emergency funding was granted to mission partners throughout Myanmar in order to provide rice, other foodstuffs, clean water, blankets, clothes, medicine, and mosquito nets for many refugee families. Both the immediate and long-term results were profound.
"This relief effort allowed the doors to be opened to share the Gospel with many ancestor worshipers. As a result the villagers invited our missionary to come to their village and he and his co-workers are planning to go and share more of the Gospel with that village," our partner said. "The Christians in the area are frequently having baptisms and bringing others in the area to understand how the love of Christ can change their lives. IDES' help and work certainly open hearts and minds to why others love them and why we are interested in sharing what Christ has done for us all."
These are the stories that you are helping IDES write. Lives are being changed not only here, but for eternity. Your love for these families matters. The fighting isn't over yet, and God has provided us an opportunity as Jesus-followers to continue making an amazing difference.
"Once again IDES has provided for critical needs of many refugee families...but more importantly this particular grant saw many come to a better knowledge of Jesus Christ and made their decision to follow Him," our partner said. "We pray that this is only the beginning for their area and that many more will recognize the love and concern Christians around the world have for their physical and spiritual needs."