Like you, Chris and I scramble at the end of the year asking the question, “Who should we send a year-end gift to?” It’s sort of a weird tradition. I mean, it all counts the same in both God’s eyes and in the eyes of the IRS – whenever you give. But somehow we sort of play catch up at year end. And….we get a lot of requests, so it’s on the forefront of our minds.
I’m not sure how you decide who to give to, but we have a bit of a matrix. Here’s ours:
1. They should be our friends. We want to actually know the people we give to. Trust and believe in them and what they do – but mostly just trust in them as people.
2. They should be doing something that lifts up the name of Jesus.
3. They should be working in the Arab or Middle East or Muslim or Peacemaking spheres. And if they meet all of those – bingo! They’re in.
So here’s our target: someone we know and love and trust, who does something with Arab Muslims in the Middle East that promotes goodwill and peace, while clearly lifting up the name of Jesus.
You might be surprised that there are a lot of those type of people around. Following are six that we support. You might consider going on their sites today or tomorrow (in keeping with the “year-end theme”) and join us in giving.
I’ll list the organizations in alphabetical order to avoid looking like we prefer one over the other. (Although we may indeed have a slight preference for the first one.) 🙂
Areej connects people who want to help refugees from the Middle East with those who are actually doing the work on the ground. Our daughter Anna started and runs this from Beirut, Lebanon. Her website’s not quite done but you can get a feel for the idea here. And if you want to support Areej you can donate here. (Just be sure to include the code EOTearth.004 as the “Account Designation.”)
The Global Immersion Project.
They do the coolest peacemaking stuff ever. Actually, they’ll be leading a track at the Simply Jesus Gathering this coming summer. Jon Huckins and Jer Swigart are close friends whom I know well and trust. You can check out what they do and give at http://globalimmerse.org.
Holy Land Trust.
This is the best thing going in the Palestinian Territories as far as helping raise up Palestinian leaders with a heart of godliness and peacemaking. It gives me hope for the Middle East. Sami Awad has been a long-time, trusted friend of mine. You can check out what they do and give at http://www.holylandtrust.org.
Peace Catalyst International.
If you’re interested in helping bridge the gap of understanding that leads to positive action in the whole Muslim-Christian divide, this is your group. They work a lot with churches and organizations in the States and do an amazing job. Rick Love is the founder and director and a close, long-time friend. Check out their site and give at http://www.peace-catalyst.net.
Preemptive Love Coalition.
They started by doing life saving heart surgeries for Iraqi children, but have far outgrown that. They work in the middle of the war torn parts of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya and other such fun spots. Amazing group. Jeremy Courtney has also been a good, trusted, long-time friend of mine. Check out what they do and how to give at: http://www.preemptivelove.org
If you’re looking to understand all sides of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, look no further. These are your people. They lead trips of understanding, equally showing all sides so you know how to pray, live and give with more discernment. Greg Khalil is the co-founder and is a long-time, trusted friend. Check out what they do and how to give at http://www.telosgroup.org.
There are others of course. Actually lots of others. Some who are also our friends and whom we support. But these are the ones who come to mind now. And, that I’d recommend without reservation. They meet our criteria that I listed above. We encourage you to love and support them as well.
Happy New Year. And be generous.