First Snows Arrive – Refugee Winter 2017

Winter arrived with a sudden, days-long thunderstorm and drizzling rain that rolled into the country. The storm left snow-capped peaks in its wake, the first snow of the year, albeit at a high altitude. Everyone has been bringing out their diesel heaters, jackets and extra blankets (if they even have them) to stave off the encroaching cold.

I shudder to think at the horrors that many in Aleppo and Mosul are enduring this winter. Besieged civilians with little food, no clean water, and now a numbing cold on top of it. The refugees with us in the country we serve in are thankful they fled from places like that in time – some even coming directly from those cities now suffering tremendously.

However, winter here as a refugee is still no easy life, even though they are spared from enduring aerial bombings and gun battles in the street. For many of them, the choice in a given week can be between having enough for food or having enough for heating oil. Usually both needs cannot be fully met.

refugee winter relief
A typical refugee living arrangement in the winter with a single diesel heater in the sleeping area.
Many families are asking us for help for heating oil and heaters this winter. We provided heaters for dozens of refugees last winter, and were also able to help with heating oil for three months for almost a hundred families. God seemed to move people with compassion last year to help those living in the bitter cold without adequate heat.

We are praying to see that same compassion this year as well. If anything, the number of refugees we personally know and are involved with helping has only increased. Another Christian group helping refugees in a valley area frequently hit with snow and chilling winds has also been in contact about pressing needs for the coming winter.

As we also live near many of the refugees, and share in the chill of this winter (and also need to keep our own supply of heating oil up to stay warm as well!) we can sympathize with the challenge this brings to their already difficult lives. Those helped last year were quite thankful, and several have continued on in regular contact with us and the other group assisting them.

Opportunities to show the love of Christ and gain a ‘hearing’ from those affected by it are abundant this year. We have hope the Lord will provide again for the needs out here as before. Even just a few days before writing this, before the need was really known by anyone, the Lord suddenly provided enough for about 15 heaters for needy families in the valley area.

Please join us in prayer for the winter needs from now until March 2017. No one person can help all these refugees, but the Lord can as needed. If you want to help in any way, you can find out more here.

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