In March 2016, we marked the fifth anniversary of war in Syria. Over those five years, as many as 470,000 people have been killed, including at least 11,000 children. Almost 5 million people have been turned into refugees, including 2 million children. Within Syria, more than 85 per cent of people are now living in poverty and almost 70 per cent in extreme poverty. It was an unwelcome anniversary, although I am enormously proud of the work World Vision has done, in Syria and alongside the millions of refugees who have fled the conflict, and I want to say thanks to you for your part in supporting that work.
On April 25, 2016 – Anzac Day – we also marked the first anniversary of the Nepal earthquake, which killed almost 9000 people. Again, it was an anniversary filled with conflicting emotions: remembering what was lost, reflecting on the recovery to date, and taking some pride that over the past year World Vision has been able to reach hundreds of thousands of people in the earthquake-affected districts, providing children with access to water, to schools, to shelter and to health.
A year on from the quake, up to 3 million people still lack permanent shelter. Rebuilding and restoration of livelihoods is happening, but an enormous amount remains to be done. In the face of difficulties, I think what’s most important is faithfulness.
Faithfulness in the sense of holding on to the deep core of belief that with God all things are possible. It is the foundation for hope, the sure knowledge that despite all the challenges and suffering of today, a better day is possible, and it’s our calling to do what we can to bring it closer.
And faithfulness in the sense of staying the course, finding the deep well of persistence and perseverance to keep going on despite all the challenges we confront. Cynicism and despair are easy, but as the old saying goes, it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
It is a blessing, a tremendous sign of God’s love at work in the world, to have the support of such committed friends and partners as we have in Australian church communities like Hillsong.
I give thanks to God every day for the positive difference our Australian supporters are making through their compassionate, committed, enduring faithfulness.
Chief Advocate, World Vision Australia
Let us not grow weary in doing good, let us not move on as the media sometimes does, and let us chose to be the CHURCH, the hands and feet of Jesus in these times of crisis.
With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26
Give to the Syria Refugee Response here.
4.8 million people have fled Syria and an estimated 13.5 million people within Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance due to the ongoing conflict (UNOCHA).
As a Church we are endeavouring to respond to the refugee crisis in various ways. In Australia we have partnered with World Vision to support their Syria Crisis Response across Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey.