DEAR FRIENDS AND LOYAL SUPPORTERS OF NASAREAN.ORG -
A Blessed and Happy New Year!
We continue to be truly grateful for all your support – especially all of you who so generously give regularly. The last months of 2017 brought many speaking engagements for me, as I continue to try to keep the profile and plight of the persecuted Christians, especially in the Middle East, in the public eye. It is always moving and encouraging, especially when speaking to parish groups, to see how enthusiastic people are to do something – even if it’s very small – to help the persecuted. The other thing I always experience is discovering how little people know about the ongoing persecution – and how the lack of attention of the mainstream media can lead many people to imagine that the persecution has somehow ended. One example is the constant theme of the “defeat of ISIS” – it is true that the physical Caliphate has been severely weakened – but the murderous ideology and persecution continues – and, in fact, if you look at the entire world, the influence of ISIS is growing, not declining. Wherever I speak, people constantly ask – “how can I help?” Our answer at Nasarean.org, which is a very small charity – but with a big heart – is the same from the day we started in August, 2014 – “Prayer, Solidarity, Charity.”
We commit to pray – on a daily basis, for our persecuted brothers and sisters – to pray for the rest of our lives – this is not going away! Through the wearing of Naserean.org items – the Arabic “N” – we show solidarity with the persecuted and spark conversations – and, through your giving, we directly aid suffering families and continue the work of advocacy for them.
Our motto for 2018 is definitely the old favourite “small is beautiful!”. As I have told you before, the most practical way we can help the persecuted stay in their countries and have a future is to provide jobs. The big agencies pour a great deal of money into these areas – and do great work – but we are helping individual families – and can see their progress. Through your generosity, we continue to help pay the salaries of the ten ladies in the village of Aradin in Northern Iraq who are sewing and knitting. This year we will help them purchase three knitting machines from China.
Custom sewn bags with the Nasarean logo. Bags will be for sale soon. All proceeds will go to Nasarean.org.
We will also help three other families start businesses – a Garage, a small farm and a hairdressing salon. You will see some of the pictures of those we are helping in the future. We also will send two women to Lebanon to train in business “start-ups” – so they can return to train – it is not enough to provide money without training – we will also be “hardnosed” about our support – we will ask those we support to repay half when they are established – to help new businesses. We are looking at directly helping some of the refugee families in Lebanon who have been suffering for many years – both those from Iraq and Syria. We are in the process of assisting an icon painter driven from Iraq by ISIS and now in Lebanon – we are assisting our partner charity in the UK – the Aradin Charitable Trust – to organize an exhibition of his work – and establish a Shrine in Britain for people to pray for the persecuted.
I have been determined to assist in Syria – it is much more difficult – but have made some good contacts and possibilities – more news soon! I was unable to get into Syria at the end of 2017 – my visa was denied – but I will try again soon, even though it is quite dangerous. I was also unable to get back into Iraq in September – the day I was due to arrive the Iraqi government closed the airspace in Erbil – which is greatly harming our brethren. I will go again, as soon as the airport opens.
Among other speaking engagements, the government of Hungary invited me to be a speaker at their World Summit on Christian Persecution in October – and I spoke to the Eastern Lieutenancy and North Eastern Lieutenancy of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in New York and Rhode Island. I was also a panellist in NYC at powerful one-day Symposium with Cardinal Dolan in December. The year finished with a wonderful group of parishioners in Miami who invited me to talk in their parish.
Father Ben speaking at St. Agnes Parish in Key Biscayne.
Father Ben meets with Cardinal Burke who is a great supporter of Nasarean.
Father Ben stands with Archbishop Bernardito Auza - The Papal Nuncio to the U.N. -
at the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in NYC.
We will continue to update you with our progress – we ask for your prayers – and, as you consider your charitable giving – to continue to support Nasarean.org.
God bless you all!