The first time I read about the capitol of Panem in the popular ‘The Hunger Games' trilogy, I found it all a bit absurd.
Rainbow colored hair, extravagant fashion, mass parties, and violent entertainment centered around watching children fight to the death to earn food for their districts. I remember thinking, There's no way people would just sit around and watch children die as entertainment.
And then I realized, I am a citizen of the first world Panem. And as long as I simply watch the news of children being massacred, beheaded, with their heads displayed on poles in the park, I am no better than the heartless citizens of a not-so-fictional Panem.
The image of a father holding the body of his headless daughter, beheaded by ISIS for being a Christian, has haunted me since I saw it last week. The piles of children's bodies who starved because they had no food, the mothers who were raped, and the fathers crucified in the center of town. It's all so difficult to comprehend.
When I first posted the article displaying shocking images, there was an outcry on my twitter and Facebook pages, many asking for organizations or ways to do something from the safety and comfort of our own home. Here are a couple of ways that my husband and I have donated and incorporated the reality of this Christian holocaust into our daily lives.
1) GIVE WHATEVER YOU CAN
There are many people who think that if they can't give a massive amount, it won't be enough. But believe me, if you skip out on Starbucks for a week and donate the money, you can save a life. Something is always better than nothing.
-GOD TV: http://www.god.tv/iraq
I trust God TV because I know one of its founders personally, and I can say with all sincerity, they're trustworthy with your giving. And Canon Andrew White, who's on the ground right now in Iraq, was endorsed by my friend Kim Walker-Smith I more than trust her opinion.
“We are now in an immense crisis; we do not know what our future is.
The only thing we know for sure is that the Lord is here and his Spirit is with us!
The news on the crisis in Iraq continues to get worse…
One of the main Christian towns with over 30,000 people in the north Iraq Kir Quosh was mortared.
Thousands fled by car and on foot, one poor pregnant woman with her children for four miles.
The targeted violence in the North has not diminished and in the meantime the terrorists get closer to Baghdad.
The demands for help continue to be huge, people need help and food and drink.
In this respect we will help as many as we can but we cannot help people with the huge cost in the need for help in accommodation.
All the help we get we are using for those most in need but what we have done is only the beginning but…
…WE WILL NOT GIVE UP!” -Canon Andrew White
-PREEMTIVE LOVE COALITION: http://preemptivelove.org
A good friend of mine recommended this organization, and after getting on their website and seeing what they were doing, Lucas and I also gave to their urgent need.
“Short term, we are trying to house people in our home, etc + food, supplies, etc. Mid/long-term, we are undertaking development programs for the displaced, orphaned, and otherwise persecuted. We have a planned budget of $400,000+ in relief/development. Which is to say, we have a funding shortfall.” -Jeremy Courtney
2) SIGN THE PETITION URGING WASHINGTON TO HELP:
Tweet the link, email it to your friends, but take two minutes and sign this petition to show Washington that you care.
3) PRAY WITHOUT CEASING
The hardest part about living in abundance is remembering those in lack. So if you're anything like me, you need reminders.
When Moses got up the last few mornings and crawled into my bed, we prayed for the children who didn't have enough in Iraq. We asked Jesus to be with the children who had lost parents, and the parents who lost children. Before meals, we thank Jesus that we have food on our plate, and pray for supernatural provision for the people who are starving around the world. We know that prayer releases miracles, and we're declaring them over Iraq. We're asking for Saul-to-Paul like conversions with the ISIS terrorist leaders. We're declaring for supernatural food, shelter, and sanctuary for those forced from their homes and starving for following Christ.
After looking at the disturbing images of decapitated children and Christians crucified in the street, my husband asked me why I'd done such a thing, considering we're still so raw from the death of our daughter. I told him, “Babe, I need those pictures to be burned into my memory and pushing on my heart. I needed to see it because I need to face the truth.” I'm not saying that everyone should do this, but it was important to me, especially in honor of my martyred brothers and sisters in Christ. For more information from CNN.com click HERE.
Crimes against humanity are being committed all over the world, across religious and cultural lines. And as Christians, we must always fight, no matter the race, religion, or ethnicity. It's just sobering to think that no matter how safe we believe we are, any of us could someday be killed for our faith.
And because of that reality, this situation feels a little bit closer to home—even while on the other side of the world.
Let's do something, Panem. Let's do something right now.
(SIDE NOTE. It's been brought to my attention that the picture that I had posted at the top of this blog that I got from a news source wasn't an Iraqi boy, but a little boy from Yemen. I immediately took it down as the main picture and in NO WAY used it as a ‘ploy' to pull on heart strings and misrepresent the reality of crimes happening right now in Iraq. Please, people. Let's not get caught up in picture used as a misunderstanding and forget about the fact that THERE ARE ACTUAL CHILDREN, WOMEN, AND MEN DYING RIGHT NOW. I chose to use that picture because I thought it was accurate, and it wasn't and I absolutely apologize, so I immediately took it down. I can, however, be entirely accurate and post a picture of a headless little girl, or crucified bodies hanging in the center of Mosul, or bodies stacked into piles after being slaughtered—But I think we all know, that isn't really necessary, is it?
Please, let's keep the REAL ISSUE the issue here.
And as for this little boy in the picture. I don't care about his religion, race, or country of origin. At the end of the day, it's a small child who has guns pointed in his face, and if he is dead, or dear Jesus, still alive, he deserves to be remembered, fought for, and prayed for. And my heart is still broken every time I look at his little innocent face.)