Seeking to Ease the Suffering

Nate Bailey serves as a Global Mission Intern with the Orthodox Initiative in Amman, Jordan.  His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Week of Compassion.

The beginning of 2015 has seen unimaginable acts of violence throughout the Middle East and world. This past week, we saw the horrific murder of twenty-one Egyptian Coptic Christians on the shores of Libya at the hands the Islamic State. Here in Jordan, we are still reeling from the death of Lt. Moaz al Kasasbeh and constantly working to grieve and move forward, stronger and united. The Middle East has not been alone in its share of violence, however, with acts of terrorism in many places such as Copenhagen, Paris, North Carolina, and through out Nigeria. As the world reels from atrocities and acts of unimaginable violence throughout the world, the work of the Orthodox Initiative and Middle East Council of Churches in Amman, Jordan, continues forward, seeking to ease the suffering of the most vulnerable members of our community. Our hearts are heavy, yet we do what we can to move forward seeking peace for our world.

Daily, the conflicts in the Middle East change and expand, bringing new challenges and unexpected hurdles to overcome.  Our work adapts to meet changing needs as they arise. Originally, our work focused on providing vouchers and relief items to those fleeing the brutal war in Syria. These vouchers could be used to obtain a variety of items, depending on what was most needed at the time such as food packages, health kits, and clothing. By providing vouchers, we were able to lessen the burdens that come with being uprooted by war. We did what we could to take a step in restoring humanity and dignity to our guests, giving recipients the freedom to choose what they needed most. In the summer of 2014, the Islamic State tore through Iraq, displacing large numbers of Christians who have called that land home for thousands of years. Many of these Christians have sought shelter in Jordan, finding safety in local churches scattered through Amman. Seeing this need, we have made a special effort to assist our Christian brothers and sisters in the region, while still providing what we can for all our guests.

As we move into 2015, there is little end to the violence in sight. The war in Syria moves into its fourth year, the Islamic State has started to become more active throughout the region, and international involvement in the region has begun to ramp up. Here at the Orthodox Initiative and MECC, we are seeking ways to develop projects to not only meet the needs of guests in Jordan, but also of the hosting communities. These communities, often forgotten by international aid, face many similar challenges to the guests in the region yet receive little assistance. The hosting communities of Jordan have gone above and beyond to welcome newcomers, but resources are running thin and sustainable projects that work to alleviate the suffering of all, guests and hosts, are desperately needed. Moving forward, we continue to help, hope, and pray.