Field Personnel Columns / General CBF

Providing hope at a stoplight

By Anonymous CBF field personnel in the Middle East

begging boysHe ripped the bag open with his teeth…

All over our city, at every stoplight, we are faced with refugee children and mothers with small babies begging at car windows. For this reason, I keep packaged snacks in the car to hand out. Giving money is not the best response.

Often, these children are being used by adults who place them there with no food or water to beg from anyone passing. We even know of refugee parents who “rent” their children to others to work the stoplights.

This particular day, I only had two small packages of popped popcorn which were tied inside a plastic grocery bag. There were two young boys at the stoplight, so I handed them the whole bag directing them to share, and said “Jesus Christ loves you!”

Before I got through the intersection, I glanced into my rear-view mirror and saw a shocking sight. Both boys were pulling at the grocery bag towards themselves like a tug of war, and then, one boy began ripping the grocery bag with his teeth to get to the smaller bags of popcorn — they were so hungry.

The constant presence of beggars at the stoplights makes me uncomfortable, I admit this.

I also know the children who are tasked to sell items such as small packages of Kleenex do not profit if I give them more than the cost of the item which they are selling. The money does not end up in the child’s pocket. We have seen children positioned by adults in the rain, without coats, and then after a couple of hours, that child taken away and another child put into the same spot to beg, again without a coat, in the rain, in the winter.

The snacks in the car are my way of helping them in the most effective and least abusive way. Sometimes, it even is a good idea to open the packages before giving them to the children — because they will try to sell the package of cookies, crackers, nuts etc. to the car behind me!

This day, I was humbled by their need, and their hunger. A certain numbness comes from the constant bombardment of beggars at every light. I admit this, and I thank God for you, the churches, who are supporting our work here. Those children are seeing the Lord’s face and God providing some for them through gifts given to CBF to support our Syrian relief work. Food distributions, clothing, blankets, tents, are given to the refugees in our city thanks to your generosity!

Let us not grow weary of doing good. Let us not go numb to the needs around us, the needs of this world. 2 Thess. 3:13

Learn more about and support the work of this anonymous CBF field personnel serving in the Middle East here

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