The Youth and Children’s Project 2016/17 “Journeys of Promise” aims to help children and young people show how they follow Jesus every day by how they live their lives and not just by the things that they say. The Bible teaches that our faith is not something that is to be kept hidden but that can be seen in all that we do as we live our lives differently to those who live by different values. Jesus stood out as being different when He lived on earth and He calls us to be no less radical in our faith today.
This year the Project has an entirely overseas focus.
The Project highlights the stories of young people and children who, along with their families have suffered great trauma and have been displaced from their homes, mainly through conflict in their own countries. We have seen the news footage of the many thousands who have had to leave Syria because of the conflict there and have had to settle in refugee camps in many other countries. We are focussing on those who are in Lebanon and are being supported through the work of National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL) and Open Doors, two partners of PCI.
In Lebanon, we are supporting the work of the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL) as it builds a school for the children who are living in refugee camps. In Lebanon, Syrian children are not allowed to attend the local schools, and so NESSL want to provide them with access to education and the opportunity to learn. The money raised by PCI will help to finance the renovation and refurbishment of an old school building and employ Syrian teachers from the refugee camp. Open Doors is involved in helping a local organisation in offering food packages and other needed material to Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Besides this material support, the beneficiaries also receive spiritual support and Christian literature. The money raised will help to finance their efforts and provide bibles and resources for youth and children’s programmes in the camps.
In Syria, we are supporting the work of Open Doors as it distributes Bibles. The Christian Church there is helping in the midst of all the violence and telling the people about Jesus. The spiritual needs of these people are a priority, and Open Doors have been shipping Bibles to Syria for distribution. It is a dangerous task, but there are people who are committed and dedicated to doing it. The money raised by PCI will see that more Bibles are shipped to Syria and distributed among the new Christians there.
The Project tells the story of three individuals who represent many others who live in this situation. Miriam is 9 years old and is a refugee in Lebanon, along with her family. Achmed is 13 years old and also lives in the refugee camp in Lebanon with his family. They come from different situations but are both being helped by PCI’s partners in the Bekaa Valley camp in Lebanon. Ghalib is a key Bible distributor in Syria and is involved with Open Doors.
Leviticus 19:33-34 says, “Treat the foreigner as you would a local... Love him like one of your own.” This is the memory verse for the Project this year and we want the children and young people of PCI to understand how to make a difference in the world by living out their faith as part of a community of global concern.
Journey's of Promise from Presbyterian Church in Ireland on Vimeo.