Thirty Full Trucks to Iraqi Refugees
At the end of May, a truck sunnyvale towing is full of clothing, personal care items, and school furniture left Nunspeet. End goal: the refugee camps in Northern Iraq, 5000 kilometers to the east. The car arrived in Erbil last Wednesday.
Martin ten Caat is one of the coordinators of the transports, together with Jan van Panhuis, Henk Jan van der Weerd, and Martha Groothedde. Ten Cart is a member of the Reformed municipality in Kampen, where this initiative started in 2014. Christians in Mosul and surrounding villages were suddenly faced with the choice by IS: either to switch to Islam, or to pay some kind of religious tax to stay there, or to flee. Most fled and sought refuge elsewhere in churches, parking garages, or vacant homes.
Other Reformed congregations in the country, but also some congregations from other church associations, did want to put their shoulders to the wheel. For example, support was received from Apeldoorn, Houten, Amersfoort, and Leiderdorp. Fundraising campaigns also started there. Nunspeet now has a central national collection point.
The Iraq Aid Working Group provides aid through several small Protestant congregations in Iraq. The Iraqi pastor Rev. Johanna Marten, living in the Netherlands, is the liaison between the Netherlands and Iraq. Sometimes he flies to Iraq to coordinate the distribution of the goods.
The Iraq Aid Working Group has been working from the start with the Special Needs Deputies of the Reformed Municipalities. In Iraq, Ten Cart not only left things behind but also learned something for himself: “The confidence that refugees have in God is a great lesson for us. It is our Biblical mission to work for our fellow human beings. Setting up action as a church congregation takes some free time, but you get a lot in return. We have noticed that not only are Christians in Iraq grateful for what we bring to them but also grateful because there are evidently Christians in the world who think of them, who pray for them. If we tell them that we are sorting clothes for them somewhere in the Netherlands with twenty people, or are loading a truck with eight people, they are doing very well. ”