Planning Begins – Christmas 2022
Planning begins: Our associate ministries in the Middle East have already begun planning for Christmas programs for displaced Christian children.
Lebanon is our biggest challenge!
One fourth of the Lebanon’s population consists of refugees!
Yes … You read that right … one out of every four people in Lebanon are refugees. There are 1.5 million Syrian refugees, many of them Christians. Those are the official figures, but the actual number is probably higher.
Churches in Lebanon are heavily overburdened by Christian refugees from both Syria and Iraq. I have visited Christian schools there and some are operating three shifts to try to accommodate refugee children who are not allowed to attend the public schools.
We hold more Christmas events in Lebanon than anywhere else.
Churches of all denominations welcome our Christmas programs because it takes stress off of them. The churches are able to hold programs for children without expense. We are providing most of the program materials, the meals, the gifts and often transportation.
We have continued the programs despite political and economic upheaval in Lebanon.
Inflation in Lebanon in 2021 was 155% and it looks like inflation will hit 178% this year. Food is subsidized but that is not much of a help as most products available in Lebanon have to be imported. The Lebanese pound traded at 1,507 per dollar just a few years ago. Right now, it trades at 15,500 per dollar.
This puts a lot of pressure on our programs even in Syria because our Lebanese partners conduct all the programs in Syria.
Christmas Matching Gift will help: I probably can’t do all the planned programs this year for the budgeted $400,000. Inflation will push us past that. We can still make it with the Christmas Matching Gift that doubles any Christmas gifts. The funding is urgently needed, and I ask anyone planning on helping to please send their gifts as early as possible.
Christian refugee children are at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to receiving aid from the UN, the EU or USAID. Our Christmas programs help the children, the families and lift their spirits. We bring them the joy of Christmas and the knowledge of Salvation through Jesus.
Nigeria: The Christmas budget only set aside funds for one “Jesus birthday party” at the Jos Christian Refuge for Children. Our children and the staff want to organize events for two smaller orphanages with fewer children. The children have offered to use some of their budget to share the joy of the Lord at Christmas.
I really want to help our orphanage kids spread the Good News about Jesus. Please pray for the children and please pray about what you would be able to do for Christmas for Refugees this year.
William J. Murray, President