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Relief work along Iraqi border begins; Baptists call for volunteers, donations

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–Baptist workers in Jordan have begun ministering to refugees who are fleeing what seem to be imminent hostilities in Iraq.

Working in cooperation with the Baptist Society of Jordan, Southern Baptist workers on March 19 distributed 30,000 diapers, formula for 1,000 babies and blankets in camps set up along the Iraq/Jordan border, an International Mission Board leader in the region reported.

The workers also plan to address hunger, nutritional and medical needs as the situation continues to unfold, the worker said.

“We don’t know what all the needs are yet,” he said. “But we intend to meet needs as opportunities unfold. We also hope to conduct mobile ministries to people in Iraqi villages who are trying to stay with their homes.

“But the needs have begun to emerge, and we want Southern Baptists to know what we need.”

In addition to money to purchase relief supplies, the team wants volunteers, the worker said.

“We will certainly need medical people, but we also want other volunteers. We have tremendous opportunities to share a cup of cold water in the name of Christ.

“Now is the time for Southern Baptists to respond. We must not have a time lag. We must be able to respond when opportunities open.”

Responding to the needs of Iraq’s people reflects God’s love for them, an IMB spokesman said.

“God loves the people of Iraq — like he loves all peoples — with all his heart, and we share that love,” Wendy Norvelle said. “Our hearts are with the people of Iraq, the Arab majority as well as minorities like the Kurds.

“They have suffered for many years and the future will not be easy,” Norvelle said. “We pray that God will use the uncertainty of a time like this to help them understand the certainty of his love for them.

“We call on all Southern Baptists to join in fervent prayer for the peoples of Iraq, that this time of turmoil and uncertainty might cause them to seek God. We ask them to give generously to relief efforts that will help Iraqis rebuild their lives and country. We also call on them to give themselves for work in the region — as living examples of God’s love for the Iraqi people — when those opportunities arise.”
Contributions may be mailed to: Iraq Response, P.O. Box 6767, Richmond, VA 23230-0767. Make checks payable to International Mission Board and designate “Iraq Response — General Relief.” Every dollar given will go 100 percent to relief ministries. Give online: www.resources.imb.org/index.cfm/fa/prod/ProdID/961.htm.
— Medical professionals interested in volunteering for medical outreach projects when they begin may e-mail [email protected].
— People interested in volunteering for other outreach projects when they begin may e-mail [email protected].

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  • Mark Kelly