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Refugees
Many Iraqi Christian refugees have no place to go, and are forced to sleep on the street or in open patio areas with little protection from the elements.

The Islamic State (also known as ISIS), an extreme Sunni militant group, has rampaged across Iraq virtually unchecked for months, using barbaric tactics to purge towns of religious and ethnic minorities — though Christians are the primary target.

Within one 24-hour period, as many as 2,000 refugee families flooded into a town north of Baghdad. At least 800 families found nowhere except the streets to sleep.

Greg Mundis, AGWM executive director, says, "The need of our fellow believers in Iraq is desperate. We who have experienced God's unmerited favor have a responsibility to help Christians who are suffering there."

As Christians flee persecution, several AG churches in Iraq are helping care for them. One church is presently housing 200 refugees.

"The current situation in Iraq exemplifies the importance of having established churches in a country that can touch the poor and suffering firsthand, quickly and effectively," says Randy Hurst, AGWM communications director. "In spite of their own need, our Iraqi brothers and sisters began immediately reaching out to suffering Christians. They are doing all they can, but they need our help to do more. Through them, we can give aid to Christians in Iraq who are fleeing violent persecution."  

Relief
Help is needed to provide adequate relief supplies for the increasing number of Iraqi Christian refugees.

Across the Nineveh plains, an estimated 200,000 Iraqi Christians have fled their homes.

These churches need financial help to purchase food and other emergency supplies, since most of the refugees have nothing of their own. A blanket can be provided for $10, a hygiene kit for $20, and a week's worth of basic food items for a family of four for $60. 

Those who want to help can give online at giving.ag.org and clicking on the "Middle East Refugee Crisis" graphic. Checks should be mailed to AG World Missions, 1445 N. Boonville Ave., Springfield, MO 65802. Indicate "Middle East Refugee Crisis - AGWM Suffering Church Fund #649230-0 (28)" on the memo line of the check. Donations also can be made by calling toll free 1-866-470-9514. 

"Please pray for Christians who are being persecuted for their faith and for those who are reaching out to nonbelievers in the love of Christ," Mundis appeals. "Pray also that all compassionate efforts that are done will 'open a door for the message' (Colossians 4:3) in many lives."

For more information, including pictures of the relief efforts of AG churches in Iraq, click here.

 


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Women's Ministries stamp collecting aids libraries

Thu, 04 Dec 2003 - 12:29 PM CST

For more than four decades, Women's Ministries groups around the country have been collecting used postage stamps, donating more than $60,000 from their resale to missions. This ongoing project, called The Library Fund, serves a twofold purpose: providing funds for A/G Bible schools and a nontraditional ministry opportunity for the many retired missionaries and shut-ins who help prepare stamps for sale. The effort began in 1962.

Each year the national Women's Ministries Department receives more than a thousand packages of stamps in varying shapes and sizes. "The Library Fund is a project that appeals to many Women's Ministries groups because it does not require a large amount of finances or fund raising," says Karlene Gannon, office and finance/projects coordinator for the national Women's Ministries Department. "The whole church can be involved in this recycling project."

Women's Ministries groups coordinate the collection, preparation and shipment of the canceled postage stamps to the national Women's Ministries Department for marketing. Some church groups also ask local utility companies and businesses to save envelopes. Postage stamps that are placed lower on the envelope are easier to sell, and large commemorative stamps are more valuable. The 2002 grants totaled $1,700 and benefited nine Bible schools from each of the six Assemblies of God World Missions regions.

"The Women's Ministries and all those who have taken time to collect the used stamps have made it possible for us to purchase much-needed books for our library here at Joy Bible Institute," says Phil Rojak, U.S. A/G missionary in Vanuatu. "Like most Bible schools, our school's funds are at a premium, and often there are not enough funds left over to adequately stock our library. The Library Fund has helped us to better equip our students."

For more information about the national Women's Ministries Department, see its Web site at <http://womensministries.ag.org/>.


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