We don’t know their names

There's a photo that appeared in the National Post on September 5, a close up of an older man cradling the face of one much younger, one who is wrapped in a shroud, the victim of a suspected poisonous gas attack in Syria at the end of August. The grief on the old man's face is wrenching.

In the background, lay more rows of sheeted bodies, cold and unmoving, just a few among hundreds more.

We don't know their names.

Meanwhile in North America, a young woman writhes explicitly on stage during a music awards show and she's an instant sensation, warranting comment from every possible angle.

It seems everyone knows her name.

There's something wrong with these two pictures. Both shocking, yet one has so much more staying power than the other. One elevated to ultra-viral status, the other almost forgotten, along with the nameless bodies that were once someone's mother, father, sister, brother. Our minds become numbed to the evening footage of the newest atrocity while we surf the net for the latest titillation in the entertainment world.

Thankfully, there are those tirelessly working to ensure we don't forget those who suffer so greatly around the world, and here at home.

While Western nations debate the likelihood of military action in the Middle East, aid agencies like World Renew and Canadian Global Response, in partnership with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, are already on the ground. Groups like Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) bring the stories of persecution, suffering and hope to the forefront of North American minds.

Here at ChristianWeek, we're privileged to tell some of the stories of how these men and women are providing hope and help to those nameless ones for whom Jesus cares so very deeply.

Amid all of the chaos and calamity, there is some good news, too. In Egypt, some Muslims are helping protect their Christian neighbours and put out fires. Many of the Christians, meanwhile, have publicly forgiven their persecutors, and continue to meet and pray in their ravaged buildings. It's making a difference.

"You've got this terrible destruction taking place, Christians being murdered and kidnapped and tortured, but you've also got [by one estimate] more Muslims coming to Christ in the last 10 years than in the previous 1,400 years of Islam," says Greg Musselman, vice president of outreach with VOM .

"It does show that God is on the move in the midst of all the chaos and war."

But it's not an easy job these groups have, and it's not cheap. They are feeling the financial crunch and wonder how much longer they can continue their efforts. We tell their stories with hope that they will inform and inspire, and encourage you to give however you can.

We have seen firsthand how generous you are. We have been encouraged by the ongoing response to our One Word capital campaign. To those who have given, thank you! Your generosity drives our mission to help keep the nameless ones in the news and to highlight the work of God's people in Canada and around the world.

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About the author

Kelly Rempel is the Senior Editor for ChristianWeek.