Although we're all frequently hearing bits and pieces of what's going on in the Middle East, especially concerning ISIS, the first moment I remember really starting to consider the fear and devastation that was a part of life for Christians in areas that were being overtaken by conflict was about a year ago when I saw this video a friend of mine shared on facebook.
Even though the video is a dramatization, showing what it would be like if a conflict came to the UK (or really any other Western country), it's the kind of thing that sticks with you. Over the past year, I've found myself thinking of this video often, especially as we hear of mass beheadings of Christians and survivors of cities conquered by ISIS and similar groups being forced to flee from their homes and normal lives.
So, the question is, as always, "What can we do?" I definitely don't have the answer to that question. It would be easy to say, "Let's bring them all here!" Some European countries have done just that, allowing large numbers of refugees in. Our country has given the okay for at least 10,000 Syrian refugees to come to the US in the next year. But allowing folks from the Middle East into the US and Europe does present the risk of undercover radicals sneaking in, which could have potentially devastating results. I'm bringing a child into this world at the beginning of 2016 - and I want her to be in the most comfortable, safe world possible. Part of me wants to say, "of course they should be allowed in the US," while the new, protective parent in me is terrified of the idea of even one or two people with terrible intentions slipping through the cracks and being allowed in.
I guess, in the short term, we can be more aware of what's happening in the Middle East. We can pray for the Christians overseas (and the refugees of other faiths) and try to never take for granted our life of comfort and relative safety. There are some charities, like Save the Children (they made that video above) that help children within the countries and at refugee camps. If you google "charities that help refugees," you can find a list of groups that you can research and decide if you want to contribute (I haven't thoroughly looked into any of these, so I don't want to give advice about which ones are the most trustworthy and helpful).
Like I said, I don't consider myself an expert on the subject, and I surely don't have a potential solution, but I do think it's important to at least open up a dialogue about our brothers and sisters in the Middle East and what they're going through. We so often get caught up on little things in our daily lives that it's easy to forget something so awful and sad can be happening an ocean away.