Sarah Patel, UK Coordinator of GAiN humanitarian activities, reports on their work with Iraqi refugees and the partnership with Samara, a pioneering social entrepreneur.
Since the appeal began in July 2014 in the UK, more than £90,000 has been generously given to support those fleeing the conflict in Iraq. Through Agape’s official humanitarian partner GAiN (Global Aid Network), disaster assistance response teams have been sent to support a local partner in receiving and distributing emergency supplies and food parcels. More than 60,000 people received essential aid and were shown that they had not been forgotten. A significant proportion of the funds raised in the UK were used to support the efforts of mother-of-two, Samara, a partner who mobilised hundreds of volunteers nationwide to collect winter clothes to send to Kurdistan.
"This is a ministry of love which is equally important for those who give in the UK as it is for the people in or fleeing Iraq,” says Samara. “It is so meaningful for people to be able to give in such a practical way.”
What started as sending one lorry load grew into 10 lorries filled with clothes, shoes and bedding. Samara had seen images of children walking around the snow-covered Syrian refugee camps with only flip flops and summer clothes. As a mother of two herself, she was moved with compassion to do whatever she could to help.
“I have had calls from people in tears thanking me for giving them the opportunity to do something to help these displaced people. But in the end it is God we need to thank. He is the creative director, I’m just the project manager.”
How has your spiritual journey been impacted by Christlikeness in others?
I’ve been inspired by the willingness of missionaries like Heidi Baker and Jackie Pullinger to leave a normal life to serve the Kingdom of God, revealing the unconditional love of Jesus to the destitute and outcasts. I often asked myself what this would look like for me, with two young children and a husband who doesn’t share my faith.
While heartbroken by the suffering of the Iraqi people last summer, God called me to “start collecting” winter clothes and shoes to serve these people and to live the gospel by “clothing the naked.”
Moved by the misery of these people, I made myself completely available to God. When I stepped out in faith, he provided everything needed to send 10 lorries of clothing to Iraq and one container to Jordan this winter. Jesus asks us to give up everything to follow him, putting love for everyone at the centre of our lives. When we walk by faith and not by sight we give Jesus the opportunity to shine through our lives bringing hope to the hopeless.
Founder, Samara's Aid Appeal
(a Partner of GAiN )
Sharing God's Love, Changing Lives15/11/2016
Seeing the World Through God's Eyes04/07/2016
Travelling Light on a Humanitarian Mission31/05/2016
Encounters with Persecuted Christians in Iraq22/04/2016