Ever hear of Yemen? Some of us probably haven’t because it is not a country that the U.S. political leaders have told us to pay attention to. I told our friends at the Sunday meeting that the U.S. probably doesn’t have a lot of “geopolitical” interest in Yemen, so that a small, poor Arab country at the bottom of the Arabian Peninsula may as well not exist to us.
But the U.S. is very involved in an air war that Saudi Arabia (the richest, most powerful country in the Middle East) is waging, so much so that it can’t keep very good track of which mission it fuels there. Like much of the factioned Middle East—struggling to gain its sense of self since after the Ottoman decolonization—Yemen is torn apart. There are warring groups, often terroristic groups, that hurt the already poor country. Saudi Arabian hostility doesn’t help.
The United Nations calls it the “world’s largest humanitarian crisis.” Nick Kristof said Saudi Arabia is “committing war crimes.” Every five minutes, a child dies in Yemen. There’s a famine there that is starving two-thirds of the country. Five thousand Yemenis develop cholera each day. Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump are culpable for U.S. support of the Saudi campaign, and the latter has been even more unfettered.
The situation is dire and it is under-reported. As Christians, we are moved to care about it. We are convicted to do something about it too. Jesus cares about the Yemeni people, and so do we. The crisis there is largely unknown. But I am grateful we are talking about it today. One of the reasons we are is because our Leadership Team recently decided to give about $10,800 to the International Rescue Committee. We are committed to continuing to be generous with our money, freely giving as we have received. Our proverb says, as part of our obligation to mutually share resources with the poor and lost, we invest at least 20% of our Common Fund income in causes beyond our basic common needs.
In a world full of trouble, it is easy to disengage when we don’t know how to solve the problems. Every time we scroll through our newsfeed we see violence, poverty, and systemic sin expressed. Our heart should break for all of that; Jesus tells us to hold fast, though, because he’s overcome the world and all the trouble in it.
Today, we are empowered to express his redemption and do the Gospel. Our donation to the IRC is part of that. And it took all of us to make it happen. So, if you are a part of Circle of Hope, you helped with this. We did a proactive thing in a reactive world. And if you aren’t, this might be a good occasion to check us out, too.
-Jonny Rashid, writing