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Iraq workers ‘thrilled, thankful’ for food boxes collected by churches

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–Southern Baptist workers in Iraq are excited about the expected late-August arrival of 46,000 boxes of food packed by Southern Baptist churches this past spring for hungry families in Iraq.

The workers said they are grateful Southern Baptists cared enough to send a practical demonstration of God’s love to Iraqis who are struggling to put their country back together.

“I’m thrilled because I know how much the Iraqi people have suffered,” said Gerald.* “And I also know what their perceptions of Americans are, and of Christians.

“To have something tangible that we can present to a Muslim family, just to say, ‘We love you, God loves you and we want you to have this as a demonstration of that love,’ is very significant.”

In April, churches all over the United States began filling 70-pound boxes with rice, flour, beans and other food staples. Each box will feed a family of five for about a month. In June, the boxes arrived at ports in Norfolk, Va., and Houston, Texas, where they were loaded into containers to be shipped overseas.

Now the boxes have left The Netherlands and are expected to arrive in the Middle East in late August to be transported overland into Iraq. Southern Baptist volunteers and other Christian co-workers will place the food boxes directly into the hands of Iraqi families in September and October.

Collecting 2.4 million pounds of food was a generous demonstration of compassion, said another worker in Iraq.

“I am very pleased and thankful for the response of Southern Baptists to the crisis in Iraq,” said Donald.* “It makes me proud to be Southern Baptist and for the heritage we have [that is] continuing on in this great and wonderful opportunity.

“The need for prayer is greater than ever now, as we put something tangible in Iraqi families’ hands and in their homes,” he added. “We now need the Lord’s presence so that the message of the Gospel can go forth — from generosity on that side of the ocean to the hospitality and reception of these Iraqi families — that they would receive these boxes and receive the message of Christ as well.”

The workers in Iraq ask Southern Baptists to pray with them about several needs:

— the safety of the food boxes as they transit stormy seas.

— that the boxes will get into the right hands in Iraq.

— for a proper attitude in delivering the food and receptive hearts to receive it.

— for the volunteers who will help distribute the boxes.

— that the gesture would result in a network of relationships that will further God’s Kingdom.

— for Jordanian Baptists who are using vacation time and personal money to reach out to Iraqis.

— for all believers who are and will be serving in dangerous places.
*First names only used for security reasons.
Listen to the interview:
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MORE about Iraq ministry efforts: http://www.imb.org/urgent.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo title: PROOF OF LOVE.

    About the Author

  • Mark Kelly