Serving beyond Your Ability

[“SHARE” APR – JUN 2020 ] BACK TO THE BIBLE

Written by: Raymond Kwong (Chief Executive)

 

Over the past nearly 30 years, CEDAR has participated in over 100 relief campaigns and the most touching thing for us is seeing the disaster-stricken victims help each other. They do not worry about what will happen to them next, instead, they make every endeavour to help those around them. Even though they barely have enough for themselves, they still try to help others, which is not an easy thing to do. This spirit of selflessness is a grace from God.

 

In the Bible, the Macedonian churches are an exemplar of selflessness. In 2 Corinthians 8, the apostle Paul described how the Macedonian churches served the poor Christian believers in Jerusalem. Back then, there was a great famine in the land of Palestine. With that and the long-standing religious persecution, the Christians in Judah were living in extreme poverty. Therefore, when Paul was preaching, he encouraged churches in other places to lend a helping hand to the churches in Jerusalem. The Macedonian churches were among those who responded to Paul’s appeal.

 

After Macedonia was defeated by Rome, the region became very poor and the local churches were in extreme poverty, and were facing a “very severe trial” of religious persecution (v. 2). Even when they were unable to fend for themselves, the churches in Macedonia still made donations to the churches in Jerusalem. They even urgently pleaded with Paul for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people (v. 4). Therefore, Paul testified that they gave as much as they were able, and ‘“even beyond their ability”’ (v. 3), which is the kind of attitude of serving that is pleasing to the Lord.

 

Over the past few months, COVID-19 has made people in Hong Kong feel helpless, worried and even frightened. While we rely on God to face challenges during this long and arduous period, we can also learn to practise the spirit of serving “beyond our ability”. Sharing your stock of masks with others is one example. Apart from the needy in Hong Kong, people in other countries also need our care and services, especially our neighbours in mainland China – one of the places most severely affected by the coronavirus. We cordially invite you to pray for them, and find ways to show them your care. If everyone serves “beyond their ability”, we will still be able to experience the joy and grace from God during this difficult time.

 

Continue reading Serving beyond Your Ability

The Letter from CEDAR | August 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In 1814, Napoleon lost and Paris fell; in 1914, World War I started; it’s now 2014 and humans still have yet to learn from history. There are people being plunged into an abyss of misery and our land is beset by war. From the news and messages circulating on online communication media, people are extremely concerned about the brutalities of ISIS, an extremist Islamic organisation in Iraq. Children and civilians are killed or forced to leave their home in great fear. The world has no idea how to bring this to an end.

Continue reading The Letter from CEDAR | August 2014

In Iraq, Women of Religious Minorities are being Abused, Shiite City is Besieged

About 45 IDPs are now living in this open-fronted, half-built hotel building in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq.

Highlights of the Updates in Iraq

  • Over 55,000 IDPs are reported to have crossed into Syria from Sinjar District, including many who were trapped on Sinjar Mountain. Most made their way back into Iraq through the Pesh Khabour checkpoint in the Kurdistan Region.
  • Over 200,000 IDPs have entered Dahuk Governorate (Kurdistan Region) and are occupying schools, churches, mosques and unfinished buildings. Schools may not reopen on 10 September as scheduled, affecting over 850,000 children (Syrian refugees, Iraqi IDPs, Kurdish host community children).
  • A water plant in eastern Mosul was partially destroyed by an airstrike, leaving large parts of the city without access to water. Food shortages are reportedly already occurring in Mosul as well. Millions of Iraqis may become severely food insecure later this year if these challenges are not resolved.
  • The sub-district of Amirli, in Tooz district of Salah al-Din Governorate, has been surrounded by ISIS forces and completely inaccessible by road. An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people reportedly remain inside Amirli, primarily Turkmen Shiites. The humanitarian situation there is said to be deteriorating quickly.
  • There is mounting evidence that women belonging to the Yazidi and Christian religious minorities in Iraq are being raped and sold into slavery by the Islamic State (ISIS). One of the first to speak out was Vian Dakheel, the only Yazidi female MP, who addressed the Iraqi parliament in early August.

[Source: ReliefWeb(1), ReliefWeb(2), the Guardian]

Let’s Pray

  • Ask God to stop the hand of those set on violence, bloodshed and intimidation in Iraq. Pray for the establishment of a lasting peace that all people groups will be accepted and protected.
  • Pray for God’s protection to the minority ethnic and religious groups, especially the vulnerable children, women and elderly. Pray that those who are being raped and sold as slaves will be rescued soon.
  • Pray for all those who have fled their homes and are living in fear and uncertainty. Ask God to keep them safe, provide for their needs and pour out His comfort and healing on all who are grieving.
  • Thank God that tens of thousands of Iraqis were able to escape from Mount Sinjar, and pray for protection, provision and a rapid rescue for those who are still trapped.
  • Lift up leaders in Iraq and around the world, praying that God will give them wisdom as they seek a solution to the crisis.

Iraq Is at the Highest Level of Humanitarian Crisis

The Baharka camp, 5km north of Erbil in northern Iraq, is home to thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs) following the takeover of large swathes of the country by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).

Updates on Iraq Crisis

  • The United Nations have declared a ‘Level 3 Emergency’, the highest level of humanitarian crisis, for Iraq. Three other crises in the world are currently sharing the same emergency status: Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
  • The situation of displaced people on Sinjar Mountain remains of critical concern, in addition to helping meet the needs of a further 12,000 displaced Christians who are now sheltering in the Kurdish capital, Erbil.
  • The Newroz camp in Syria currently hosts about 15,000 Yazidis from Iraq. After a few days at the camp, many refugees head back to Iraq to reunite with families in the Dohuk area of northern Kurdistan, but still thousands continue to come.
  • Many refugee families have been separated, scattered between Sinjar, Syria and the Kurdistan region of Iraq; children have been torn from their parents — killed, kidnapped or disappeared in the chaos. Many refugees report they had to leave behind their elderly whom they could not carry. Others who made it safely to the camp gave reports of young girls and women forced to stay behind and being sold. Families say that their young men were killed.

In the past few days, various UN Agencies have responded as follows:

  • UNCHR> providing shelter and relief items
  • WFP> providing meals
  • UNICEF> providing support to displaced children
  • WHO> providing emergency health care
  • UNFPA> distributing hygiene supplies, clothing and medical supplies
  • IOM> transporting IDPs from affected areas to agreed safe areas, distributing non-food Item kits

 

[Source: ReliefWeb(1), ReliefWeb(2)]

 

*Integral Alliance (IA), a global alliance comprising of 19 Christian relief and development agencies, is now providing disaster responses to humanitarian crisis in Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic, and is closely monitoring the crisis in Iraq. CEDAR is one of the member agencies of Integral Alliance.

May Love and Peace with Iraq

Samira Said, 27, fled Tikrit with her 20-day old baby for an agricultural shelter area next to the Baharka camp 5km north of Erbil, the capital of the northern semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq, after the militant group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) took control of Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul.

Our hearts are breaking at the atrocities taking place in Iraq. In the last two months a staggering 850,000 people have fled their homes in terror as Islamic State (IS) fighters have swept across the north of the country. An estimated 10,000 people have lost their lives, most of whom are civilians.

Religious and ethnic minority groups, such as Yazidis (a Kurdish-speaking ethno-religious group), Christians and Turkmen, have been particularly targeted, and many have been subjected to unspeakable brutalities. It’s estimated that one-fourth of Iraq’s Christians have now fled, threatened by IS at best with fines, at worst with forced conversion or death.

Thousands of Iraqis, mainly from the Yazidi community, are currently trapped on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq by IS fighters after facing similar threats. They are in desperate need of food, water and medical care, and symbolise the plight of so many more Iraqis who are the innocent victims of this crisis.

Between January to July 2014, an estimation of 1.2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) were seeking shelter in Northern Iraq. They are now suffering from significant secondary displacement due to fierce fightings near IDP locations in Ninewa and Dahuk Provinces. In addition to the current IDP crisis, the government of Kurdistan is also hosting 230,000 refugees from Syria.

Since 2012, Integral Alliance (IA), a global alliance comprising of 19 Christian relief and development agencies, has been providing relief materials, food parcel, medical care and psychosocial care to Syrian refugees. CEDAR is one of the member agencies of Integral Alliance. A member agency of IA is now forming a working team, going to Northern Iraq to assess the situation particularly the need of the suffered communities.

We know that God is a God of love, compassion, power and justice, who is ‘mighty to save’ (Isaiah 63:1). As we struggle to find words to respond in the face of such horror, remember Paul’s words in Romans: ‘We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.’ (Romans 8:26).  [Tearfund, Integral Alliance]

Pray for the suffering Iraq people:

  • Ask God to stop the hand of those set on violence, bloodshed and intimidation in Iraq. Pray for the establishment of a lasting peace that all people groups will be accepted and protected.
  • Pray for all those who have fled their homes and are living in fear and uncertainty.
  • Ask God to keep them safe, provide for their needs and pour out his comfort and healing on all who are grieving.
  • Thank God that thousands of Yazidis were able to escape from Mount Sinjar during last weekend, aided by Kurdish forces, and pray for protection, provision and a rapid rescue for those who remain.
  • Lift up leaders in Iraq and around the world, praying that God will give them wisdom as they seek a solution to the crisis.

Pray for the Sojourner in Yunnan Baoshan

[ePrayer – Pray for the Lisu in Yunnan]

DSC07309_Fotor

CEDAR cooperates with the Social Ministry Deaprtment of a church in Yunnan Baoshan, targeting the disadvantaged people and communities in helping them to live out a dignified life.

Yunnan Lisu tribe originally lived in the barren mountains, some of them came from Myanmar. In order to escape the bad situation, they are living in a long wandering life, surviving on short-term jobs. They have no identity, no land, don’t know the language thus not self-sufficient. Since they live in poor sanitation environment and are lack of medical care, diseases spread quickly and widely, and infant mortality rate and maternal dystocia are quite high. In spite of all these unfavorable factors, between the mountain of Gan Ding and Gao Li Gong Shan lives 66 families of disadvantaged people, representing more than 400 adults and children, who are all Christians.

Pray for the Lisu in Yunnan:

  • May they receive social security by having a legal status, having the basic dignity and identity, and no longer live a wandered life.
  • May there be enough resources and manpower to improve their hygiene, to provide medical care, to give basic education, and to make agricultural cultivation possible.
  • May the long-term problem of food shortage be solved, and everyone can have enough food to eat.

Approximately 1,500 people will benefit from this project.

Donate Now! Click here.

Other Methods of Payment

  1. Cheque payable to ‘CEDAR FUND’
  2. Deposit to HSBC A/C No. 600-385678-001, enclosing with the Pay-in slip
  3. Autopay (only applicable to regular fixed donations), enclosing with a completed Autopay Authorisation Form (Download: WORD or PDF)
  4. Visa/ Master Card

Download Donation Form

Please send a completed Donation Form, enclosing with cheque or pay-in slip, to CEDAR FUND, G.P.O. BOX 3212, HONG KONG.

Donation Form: WORD or PDF

[1] CEDAR is an approved charitable institutions and trusts of a public character under section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance. Please click Inland Revenue Department website to check for details.
[2] Donations over $100 are tax deductible in Hong Kong with our receipts.
[3] Please DO NOT fax any donation information.