Last year Vaughan joined a trip through Egypt, Israel and Jordan, to meet with refugees fleeing Syria and Iraq. This May both of us will undertake a similar trip to Lebanon culminating in an ‘Ultra Walk’ of 63km, setting off at 11pm walking through the night and finishing around 12-13 hours later midday the next day.
In total there are around 30 of us participating. While most parts of Lebanon are relatively safe, people forget that it borders Syria and it’s estimated that 1 in 4 people in Lebanon is a refugee. An estimated 1million Syrian refugees have fled there, not counting refugees from Iraq. Almost half of these refugees are children, ripped away from home, school, friends and sometimes family.
(Picture - Vaughan and Victoria on a practise night-walk)
Our trip is organised by 4M and their Muskathlon endurance event (choice of ultrawalk/marathon/cycle) aims to raise funding and awareness to fight injustice. Donations will go to support the work of the charity Open Doors in the Middle East. Open Doors’ primary focus is supporting Christian refugees facing extreme persecution, but over 30% of the relief aid goes to non–Christians working with partner organisations and people on the ground. The refugees are all people, all children of God and they are all suffering. Donations help provide food, clean water, medicine, heating, shelter, education, trauma care and even micro loans.
Our objective is to raise over £20,000 for them. We are paying all the trip costs and Victoria and I will make our own donation. After meeting and talking with refugees face to face last year it is on our heart to provide practical support and let them know that the world has not forgotten about them and they are loved. We have a justgiving page :
How Opendoors is helping the refugees in Lebanon(they run projects through the Middle East)
- In 2016 Opendoors supported more than 12,000 Syrian families and 15,000 Iraqi families each month. Trauma and leadership training courses were given to 875 people and a community centre has been set up for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. A centre of hope! It has 3 classrooms for schooling over 150 children per day, as well as feeding them breakfast and lunch. It has a sewing room so women can learn sewing (on completion each women gets her own machine so they can get paid work straight away) and a laundry room.
- Food Distribution in Lebanon – They have a church warehouse where 60 families a day receive a food package. Families with young children receive powdered milk and nappies.
rescue the oppressed,
defend the orphan,
plead for the widow (Isaiah 1:17)
We will compile a write up of our experience and aim to share with you personal stories and images from the trip, including how we have seen the donations being used. We will meet refugees and the people who dedicate their time to helping them. We will visit schools run by local churches helping young Muslim and Christian refugees. Our hearts broke when we heard the stories from a small refugee camp we will visit near Zahle (in sight of the mountain border with Syria). It holds about 800 families and also a project that looks after refugee orphans. Each night these orphans look for a new place to sleep, crawling under tents of different families. It’s hard to get your head around that.
Thank you for your support and prayers.
Vaughan and Victoria