Winter is at our doorstep, and Syrian refugees who are living in northern Iraq are cold. Many of the refugees fled the violence in their country with only the clothes they were wearing, and now they are living in Arbat Camp with nothing. To help combat the cold weather, Samaritan’s Purse started a sewing project where we are paying refugees in the camp to make winter dresses for all the women living there.
Twenty-three women and two men in Arbat Camp were interested in joining our sewing project. Because we only had six machines and only time to do two shifts per day, we could only employ 12 of them. We tried to choose the most vulnerable people in the camp—those who are single parents, women whose husbands are unemployed, or those who are taking care of families with special needs. The day before the project started, our staff walked around the tent as we each prayed and asked God to bless the project and help us to select the women who needed the most assistance financially and spiritually.
The women started arriving promptly at 9 on Thursday morning. We started registering them and told them to have a seat so that our instructor, Xoshe, could begin teaching them how to use the sewing machines. The women who already knew how to use the machines began making clothes for practice. One woman made a small shirt with short sleeves for another lady’s daughter and another woman made a small shirt with long sleeves. A third lady made a pair of pants.
It was wonderful to see the varying skill levels of the women and their desire to improve their abilities and be able to provide much needed clothing for their fellow Syrians.
I recently went through a significant period of unemployment, so it’s meaningful for me to be the program manager of this project. To have the opportunity to provide jobs for women in need is special since I spent so long looking for a job myself. I know I can never understand what these women have gone through as they fled their country and left family and friends behind, but I hope we can provide some sense of security through stable employment here in their new country.
During my search for a job, I continually prayed Jeremiah 29:11-13 over my life. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.’”
This is now my prayer for these precious Syrian refugee women. I pray that each of them will come to know God’s good plan for their lives. And more importantly, I pray that they will know if they seek Him with all their hearts, they will find Him as the one true God.