This summer, the world was horrified to watch the brutal advance of the Islamic State (IS, or ISIS) across Syria and Iraq. The tales of murder, rape, and abuse of every kind seem almost too horrible to be possible, and yet they are real.
While Christians haven't been alone in being targeted, they certainly have borne a large share of this abuse. Many will recall seeing the homes of Christians marked with the Arabic letter "N" for Nazarene. In some areas, Christians have been murdered outright, while in others, they were allowed to flee with only the clothes on their back, stripped of all their other possessions.
In August, I profiled two organizations working on the ground in Iraq and Syria to provide humanitarian aid to these displaced brothers and sisters in Christ. One was GAiN, the humanitarian aid branch of Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ).
In the time since then, SMI Advisory Services (the separate, but affiliated, business that manages the SMI mutual funds) has been coordinating with GAiN on a relief effort to help these Christian brothers and sisters. It is their goal to spur shareholders of the SMI Funds as well as readers of the SMI newsletter to get involved in a tangible way to help alleviate this suffering.
Today SMIAS is kicking off a matching campaign in which they will match contributions to GAiN for this cause on a 2-for-1 basis, up to a total match of $50,000. To be clear, for every dollar you give, SMIAS will donate two more dollars. Your $10 contribution becomes $30...your $100 contribution instantly becomes $300.
Hebrews 11 is widely recognized by many believers as a sort of "Hall of Fame" of the Christian faith. The author describes the walk of many of the heroes — Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and so on. Consider the verses toward the end of that chapter:
Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned, they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated — the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
I find it striking how similar this passage about the heroes of our faith mirrors the news reports we've heard coming out of Iraq since this summer. We have the opportunity to stand with these dear brothers and sisters who are suffering for no other reason than they are part of our family. This effort is a great chance to tangibly let them know we haven't forgotten them and are standing with them.
If you'd like to give, here's a link to the campaign page at GAiN.
Of course, we need to be holding up these persecuted brothers and sisters in prayer. But don't believe that your giving can't also make a difference. It can — especially when stretched by this matching campaign.
What if the family driven out was your family? What if it was mine? It is our family.
Thanks in advance for your generosity!