Gifts of Love to the Iraqis -- Southern Baptists Prepare Humanitarian Aid

Apr 05, 2003 05:12 PM EST

RICHMOND, Va. – The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention calls on its 42,000 congregations to mobilize food relief for hungry Iraqis. With operation Iraqi Freedom raging through the land, Jim Brown, director of world hunger and relief ministries for the International Mission Board expect hunger to be one of the greatest needs for the Iraqis when humanitarian aid is able to cross the border.

"This is a great way for Southern Baptists who can't actually go themselves to minister in a personal way to Iraqi people," Brown said.

"This isn't relief that is going to be mass-distributed in a refugee camp either. It will be specifically delivered to hungry families in the towns and villages of Iraq once peace has been restored to the country."

According to the IMB, congregations can assemble a box of dry food that will sustain a family of five for a month for $60. The boxes will contain almost 70 pounds of staple food items: beans, lentils, rice, flour, salt, sugar, loose tea and powdered milk. Packing instructions and a detailed list of portion sizes are listed in the accompanying information sheet.

The food aid will be delivered without regard to ethnic or religious identity, Brown said.

However, the boxes cannot contain literature of any kind, especially evangelistic tracts; if such tracts are included, the authorities would reject the aid shipment

The only scripture included in the package would be on a label outside of each box with the quote John 1:17 in Arabic: "For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ." It also will identify it as "A gift with love from the Southern Baptist churches in America."

By Pauline J.