Last Saturday (19 August) our house group organised a ‘Curry in a Hurry’ event, to raise funds in support of two charities working with the persecuted church and Syrian refugees – ‘Release International’ and ‘Operation Mobilisation’.
There were two sessions with a first sitting at 5.30pm and the second sitting at 6.30pm. All together 80+ people turned up for the meal, they had a choice of three different curries with ‘poppadums’ and ‘nan’ bread, all washed down with a fruit drink, followed by a chocolate ice cream. The food was excellent, very tasty, and well prepared and received, and there was even an offer of extras! Both organisations distributed literature and we were able to see some of the work first hand on the screen. Those who attended gave generously to the work and the evening raised £2300 for the heart-breaking plight of refugees and persecuted Christians caught up in the middle-east crisis.
A Small Glimpse at a Huge Problem
In Syria alone 11 million people have been displaced and 4.5 million have fled for safety to the surrounding countries – the task is huge! The world statistics are even more staggering and are at their highest level ever! According to UNHCR ‘an unprecedented 65.6 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 22.5 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.
There are also 10 million stateless people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.’
Open Doors Watch says, ‘50 Millions of Christians around the world now live their lives against varying levels of discrimination, discovery, violence and arrest.’
Did we make a difference?
So what difference did our ‘Curry in a Hurry’ efforts make in the face of such overwhelming suffering? Humanly speaking it would seem not a lot, but as individuals, whilst it seems impossible to change the world, we can change the world for one person, one family or one community. And when you read the Release and OM literature you start to meet people just like you and me, whose lives have been ripped apart by these terrible events, and you weep and empathise with them in their distress, and realise yes we can, by the Grace of God, help some of the poor and suffering find peace and rest.
How can we continue to make a difference?
- If you are a Christian PRAY – So many people testify to the fact that they felt truly helped to keep going on and cope in their dire situation, because others were praying
- We can give what we can, for ‘every little helps’ – remember the story of the widow’s mite? Perhaps you could try a fund raising event?
- If we have the proper credentials, training, skills, and stamina, we could become personally involved
- We can write to our political leaders
All this against a background of ‘superpowers’ still vying for world supremacy, whilst supplying munitions and weapons in a seemingly never ending arms race. And in the USA and Europe we see the rise of the ugly face of right wing fanaticism, which so many young men and women gave their lives to defeat in the last world war. I’m reminded of a hymn we sing in Church:
Great is the darkness that covers the earth
Oppression injustice and pain
Nations are slipping in hopeless despair
Though many have come in Your name
Watching while sanity dies
Touched by the madness and lies
Come Lord Jesus
May now your church rise, this glorious gospel proclaim
In every nation salvation will come
To those who believe on your name,
help us bring light to the world
That we might speed your return
Come Lord Jesus
I’m sure RELEASE or OM would be delighted to hear from you!