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Micael Grenholm, a Swedish charismactivist, apologist and author.

Micael Grenholm, a Swedish charismactivist, apologist and author.

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Urgent Appeal: People Die in Syria due to Lack of Aid

This appeal comes from Doctors Without Borders (MSF). Please make a donation to them here.

After two years of extremely violent conflict, the humanitarian situation in Syria is now catastrophic and the aid provided falls drastically short of what is needed. The diplomatic paralysis preventing a political resolution of the conflict can by no means excuse the failure of humanitarian response. MSF calls on the parties involved in the conflict to negotiate an agreement on humanitarian aid, to facilitate its supply around the country via neighbouring countries or across front lines. Meanwhile, states, United Nations and donors must acknowledge the country’s fragmentation and urgently give their support to NGOs to help them provide assistance where they can.

The Syrian population is faced with a conflict of extreme violence and a humanitarian situation of catastrophic proportions: the previously well functioning health system has collapsed; food shortages are commonplace, and water and electricity supply is disrupted. “Medical aid is being targeted, hospitals destroyed and medical personnel captured,” explains Dr. Marie-Pierre Allié, President of MSF France. According to the United Nations, 2.5 million Syrians have been displaced in the country, while 57% of hospitals have been damaged and 36% are unable to function according to official data. These statistics do not include the private clinics or makeshift hospitals that have been destroyed or damaged.

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Photo: MSF

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Desperate Needs, Ultimate Joy: A Letter from Rolland Baker

Photo: Iris Ministries

Photo: Iris Ministries

This newsletter just came from Rolland Baker, founder of Iris Ministries.

Dear friends of Iris around the world,

We in Iris continue to face more need, challenge, opposition, helplessness and perplexity than we can bear, yet daily God shows up and we soldier on. We are jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us (2 Cor. 4:7). We often feel under great pressure, condemned to failure. But we have learned that this happens that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God, who raises the dead (2 Cor. 1:9).

We cannot overstate how much more help we need in every way. We need administrators, organizers, technicians, engineers, mechanics, builders, doctors, nurses, teachers, farmers, computer and Internet geeks, donors, etc., ad infinitum, along with every kind of spiritual gifting. The reason is that Iris is not simply a church, or a children’s center, or a relief effort, or a Bible school, or a mission training base, but all these and more as one example of an entire Kingdom environment. We exist to demonstrate an all-encompassing love that flows from God’s heart, a love that the unsaved have never seen before. We are here to seek and save the lost, and in the process give them a foretaste of heaven and our unshakeable inheritance that is to come.

We came to Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest countries, to prove the Gospel, both in our own hearts and lives and among the neediest people we could find. And the Gospel has taken root all around us. Churches are being added to our number weekly, mounting into the thousands. After so many years of cruel colonialism, communism and civil war, the overall climate of Mozambique has changed, deeply affected, we believe, by the Gospel. It has recently been voted one the most peaceful countries in Africa. Its economic growth rate is amazing. Major energy resources are being discovered.

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Humanitarian Passion

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Image from Wikimedia Commons

As you may have noticed, I’ve written a lot about humanitarian aid the last couple of days. I feel a growing passion for this issue, and I really want to spread it on to others. However, I have noticed that it is not so easy to do.

To my experience, most people are quite uninterested in humanitarian aid; they aren’t reading much about it nor giving that much money to it. When I look at the statistics of my Swedish blog, the posts last year that got the least views are those who concerned humanitarian crises (with the single exception of Gaza). And when I get reports from humanitarian organizations, they constantly talk about that their projects are underfunded.

Why is it like this? Why are rich people spending billions on sports, entertainment and luxuries while people suffer and die in Syria because of lack of humanitarian aid? Some would say that this is caused by human nature, we cannot help that we aren’t so interested in saving the lives of people far away. However, this cannot explain how humanitarian aid workers lay down their lives to help people they’ve never met. Humanitarian passion is rare but does exist.

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Mali: Hunger, Terrorism and Miracles

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While Mozambique, DR Congo and South Sudan also are facing enormous humanitarian crises, Mali is perhaps the African country which has most problems right now. Islamists supported by al Qaida have taken control of the northern parts of the country to practice extreme sharia laws, and to stop northern Mali from becoming a terrorist state, France is cooperating with the Mali government in a military offensive. In the midst of violent conflict are millions of civilians that already were poor, hungry and sick before. The result is disastrous. UNHCR reports:

Since the start of the conflict in northern Mali a year ago, more than 150,000 refugees have fled to neighbouring Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso, while nearly 230,000 have sought safety in other areas inside Mali. […] Most are living in poor neighbourhoods with little or no access to housing or vital services such as clean water, education and health.

People fleeing the current fighting between French-backed government forces and rebels in the north of Mali tell alarming accounts of atrocities. A former resident of Gao, who left the northern town after recent air strikes, told UNHCR that food and fuel were in short supply.

“The situation in Gao is difficult. The rebels took all the medicines from Gao hospital. I saw dead bodies everywhere, in the yard of the hospital,” said Agesha, who fled the town last Sunday.

I strongly urge you to support Christian Aid’s West Africa Food Crisis Appeal, which will bring food and humanitarian relief to the people in Mali and surrounding areas. And I also urge you to pray for this country. There are few Christians in this country, and because of the rise of extreme Islamism, they are severely persecuted. Yet, the main thing Mali needs to get rid of war, poverty, terrorism and hunger, is a mighty Holy Spirit revival. They need a miracle, and they need it now.

Conscious about this urgent need, I was so encouraged when I found this testimony  concerning a miraculous healing which occured on a Christian clinic in Mali three years ago:
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Emergency: 140 000 Homeless in Mozambique Due to Floods

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“The flood was causing vastly more than homelessness. Corpses were floating in the floodwaters. Helicopters rescued ten thousand people from treetops and roofs along the Limpopo River, but ninety thousand more were stranded and in immediate danger of being swept away and drowned. Most could not swim, but the current was so powerful and deep that even strong swimmers could not last long. Each day those trapped in tiny areas grew weaker from hunger and exposure. Small children were affected quickly by malnutrition, so they were rescued first, leaving their parents behind.

Those rescued were deposited in isolated areas, still wet and miserable and without food or services of any kind. Children were hungry, sick and crying, with high fevers, and left without mothers and fathers. International aid was on the way but greatly delayed by red tape, and it was far less than what was required. In this huge country with so many orphans and children in distress, there were pitifully limited facilities for taking care of them. In the Lord we tried to fill a vacuum among the neediest of them all.”

This is what missionary Rolland Baker writes in his book Always Enough (Chosen Books, 2003) about the devastating floods that hit Mozambique 13 years ago. His organization, Iris Ministries, did their best to alleviate suffering and save lives in the midst of disaster. In the book, he expresses the joy of seeing happiness returning to those who recieve the aid, but also the pain of knowing that there were many they didn’t were able to help. Today, he and the other Iris missionaries will have to experience this all over again.

Because of extremely heavy rain the last week, southern Mozambique has been struck with the largest flood disaster since 2000. UN OCHA reports that 250 000 are affected, of which 146,000 have to be housed in temporary shelters.  These people are in desperate need. Katherine Mueller from the Red Cross says: The main needs are tents and clean water, but they basically need everything.”

Iris Relief has sent a team to the areas affected by the floods to bring humanitarian aid and the power and love of the Holy Spirit. Please support this, go here and scroll down to “Iris Relief: Responds to Mozambique Floodings”. Or you can give to World Food Programme, Unicef or some other organization that are active in the area. Thank you, and God bless you!

Humanitarian Disasters: The Facts

Text by Christian Aid:

Almost half the world’s population has lived through a disaster at some point in the past decade. It’s enough to make you fear the future.

Storms, floods, famine, cyclones, drought, typhoons, earthquakes, mudslides, avalanches.  Each year for the past decade, an average of 258 million people have lived through some kind of disaster – in total, this is the equivalent of almost half of the world’s population.

According to the Red Cross, an average of 354 natural disasters occurred throughout the world each year from 1991 to 1999. Between 2000 and 2004, this figure more than doubled to an average of 728 natural disasters per year.

And each year, the death toll from disasters is growing greater – from 84,570 in 1995 to 249,896 ten years later, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

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Save the Lives of Syrian Victims of War!

Few have missed that there is a catastrophical humanitarian crisis in Syria. 60 000 have died in the conflict, about 1.2 million Syrians are displaced within the country, and another 600,000 have fled their homes for neighboring countries. As if this wasn’t enough, the winter this year has been very cold in the Middle East, and about one million Syrians go hungry.

Photo: Reuters

Photo: Reuters

In the midst of this enormous sufferings, many Christian aid organizations do their best to bring humanitarian relief to these victims of war. In Lebanon, to which over 150 000 Syrians have fled (half of them being children), both World Vision and Christian Aid are providing food, shelter, heating and more. They are currently helping thousands of families and plan to expand the relief even more. Obviously, they need money for that.

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More Iris Relief Miracles in the Philippines

Two weeks ago I wrote about how Iris Ministries combine humanitarian relief with supernatural healing in their response to super-typhoon Bopha that has created an urgent humanitarian situation in Mindanao, Philippines. After I had written my blog post, I discovered that one of the members of the response team, Christian Jung, has an excellent blog together with his family where he publishes information and pictures from the operation. In the midst of their aid distribution, the team shares words of knowledge, heal the blind and experience a multiplication miracle! Here’s some of what Christian writes:

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Montevista, Philippines Wednesday, December 19, 2012 . Distribution in Barangay Kamansi and Concepcion

Yesterday our team traveled over treacherous roads along cliff faces with armed military escorts to Barangay Kamansi where we distributed aid to 125 families. 40 children prayed to receive Jesus in that place. Over 15 sick people came to us for prayer. All of them were instantaneously healed, including a blind woman. Then we traveled to Barangay Concepcion where distributed aid to another 50 families. We continue to pour out the love of Jesus to these precious people who have lost so much. Love always looks like something. We capped off the day sharing stories of miracles at a conservative Baptist Bible College. Love to you all!

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Nabunturan, Philippines Friday, December 21, 2012 . Distribution in Compostela and Nabunturan

Just arrived back in Davao City from the Compostela Valley. Wow! I stand amazed at how God can use our little lives to carry the Father’s heart to the poor and the broken. Today our Iris Relief Philippines 1st Response team did a food distribution in Compostela. A church building that was still standing was packed with 193 families waiting to receive relief. We had words of knowledge for 25 people… who ALL received a healing touch from Jesus. Then the miracles of God worked through our hands confirmed the message of Christ as 230 people entered a personal, hand-holding relationship with Him this morning.

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Humanitarian Relief and Supernatural Healing in the Philippines

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Earlier this month the super-typhoon Bopha struck the Philippine island of Mindanao, the eighth most populated island in the world. Over 1000 people have died,  300 000 are homeless and the International Committee of the Red Cross is reporting that there is an urgent need for continuous humanitarian support in order to avoid enormous suffering.

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The missionary organisation Iris Ministries gave a quick response to the disaster. They wrote on their website:

We aim to go into the shelters and partner with other relief groups on the ground to help distribute food and aid as well as pray for the sick, broken, the hurting. The team will be ready to go into the worst situations and will network with other organisations and local churches.

And four days ago they reported:

Iris Relief 1st Response Team alongside Operation Blessing were able to bring food, clothing and medical supplies to 160 families in Mangayon Barangay near Compostela. We held a children’s program and prayed for the sick.

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Urge World Leaders to End Hunger in Sahel!

From the huge activist network Avaaz.

Dear friends,

18 million people are desperate for food in Africa’s drought-struck Sahel, but urgent appeals for help are being met with deafening silence by governments worldwide. The US, Japan, France and the Germany have the power to make the difference but they’re stalling — let’s sound the massive alarm needed to shake these leaders out from their inaction.

My name is Baaba Maal, and I’m a Senegalese musician writing with a personal plea for help. I live in Africa’s drought-struck Sahel region where 18 million people are on the brink of disaster, including 1 million children at risk of starvation. But our urgent appeals for help are being met with deafening silence. Only a targeted and overwhelming demand for action can stop this catastrophe from turning deadly. (more…)