Today, I’m in Amman, Jordan, working alongside our humanitarian partners amidst one of the most desperate and widespread disasters I have ever witnessed.
Our lead field strategist in Jordan is my long-time friend, Isam Ghattas. His cultural awareness has proven invaluable in navigating logistics, identifying families in need, and effectively distributing life-saving supplies as quickly as possible.
Isam shared with me that 1.3 million refugees currently live in Jordan. By the end of 2014, it is estimated that this number will spike upwards of 2.4 million.
Thousands of them are innocent civilians—children traumatized by unspeakable violence, women who have survived brutal gang rapes, the elderly injured from gunfire and explosions, Christians fleeing rampant persecution—and thousands more pour over the border every single day.
The conditions are dire—worse than anything I’ve seen on the news or in person up to this point. The exodus from Syria isn’t slowing, it’s rising dramatically. The violence is nowhere near being contained. Our help is desperately needed to continue saving lives.
Today our team distributed cook top stoves, propane gas, food staples, rice, oil, bread, water, beans, and more to needy refugee families along the border.
We saw as many as 40 adults and children crammed into makeshift, one-room shelters and abandoned buildings. They have no food, no shelter, no access to medical care, and no way to earn a living or go to school. They have lost their homes, their families, their dignity . . . their hope.
I met 36-year-old Mohammed who was in the Syrian Army for eight years. A bomb went off near him during the fighting in Syria several months ago, and he was hit by shrapnel in the arm and leg. In Syria, doctors were forced to go underground and were under death threats for assisting anyone in opposition of the regime.
Since incurring his injuries and making the back-breaking trek on foot to Jordan, Mohammed has not been able to receive any professional treatment for his wounds. The pain has been excruciating and he now faces a lifetime inhibited by tremendous physical limitations.
A tiny, cramped apartment is home to Mohammed, his wife and four kids, as well as three additional children he brought with him who were abandoned in Syria. Mohammed’s injuries and status as a foreigner mean that he cannot work to provide for his struggling family
Can you imagine—especially as a father—being completely helpless to feed your own children?
Even though his situation is desperate, he was so thankful for the supplies we brought him and for the help of our supporters who contribute to his rent. I was completely overwhelmed by his humility and gratitude. It seemed like every refugee I met was grateful for our support, in spite of their harrowing and terrible pasts.
My heart broke when I met Huda, a three-year-old girl, who was injured by a bomb blast in Syria and is now blind. Our team leader explained that countless children have been injured and traumatized during this war . . . many of whom will never recover.
Refugees fleeing Syria are crossing the border into another nightmarish existence. Although soldiers may not be marching in the streets, the dangers of exploitation, persecution, and violence are ever-present.
Many Syrian Christians remain in hiding, afraid to be in public for fear of torture and abuse. Women and children are at constant risk of sex trafficking and forced labor. Resources are few—so scarce that people are literally fighting to survive.
At one point, the back doors of our vehicle carrying aid became unhinged, and stacks of supplies suddenly became visible to everyone on the street. We watched in horror as crowds of starving people swarmed our convoy, desperate to carry off a sack of beans, a jug of water, a blanket, a hygiene kit. The police had to be called to restore order . . . but those gut-wrenching images will never leave my memory. .
The reality hit me like a ton of bricks: The people of Syria are losing hope.
They can’t wait for the conflict to stop.
They can’t wait for their homes and schools and hospitals to be rebuilt.
They can’t wait for the international community to negotiate a compromise.
They can’t wait for people in America to understand the full, heartbreaking reality of their plight.
They can’t wait a moment longer . . . because one more second can be the difference between life and death.
There are so many more stories I could tell you about today. But I think the most important thing I can do in this moment is to ask you to pray with me—right now—that God would raise up an army of believers to rally behind the suffering people of Syria.
When people are dying, you don’t need to ask more questions or weigh the cost of inconvenience—you simply need to help. We need to help.
I pray that God will stir your heart to join us in being the hands and feet of Jesus to our brothers and sisters who are suffering in silence.
Please join the World Help team as we share detailed updates from the Middle East on our blog this week. You can also follow @vernonbrewer on Twitter and Instagram for news and pictures from the field. Stay tuned!