Humanitarians risking it all to make a difference
Jennifer Auh reports on the true dangers of humanitarian work. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
The recent case of Boise Pastor Saeed Abedini, being imprisoned in Iran, has shocked many in our local community, but experts said the situation is not as uncommon as you might think.
To be all eyes and ears, that's how Christian missionaries and humanitarians have to be, when they're risking their lives to make a difference in the world. Humanitarians we talked to say the risk is worth it.
"They're guys in the parks with machine guns, and its very different then here in the states," said Jesse Taylor, Vineyard Church in Boise.
Jesse Taylor just came back from a mission trip in Nicaragua, building homes for the homeless, but he said he felt he received more than he gave, spiritually.
"When you plan to go on something like this, you're thinking I'm going down to help. I’m going to do this, and serve these people and bring them something they don't have, but often times it ends up being the reverse. They don't have much worldly possessions, but they're all very smiley, happy."
However, experts told us those trips can come with risks, and Americans sometimes take certain freedoms for granted, such as speaking your mind, making a fashion statement and even revealing your personal beliefs.
"75% of the world lives in a country, where they are persecuted for their faith," said Tiffany Barrans, ACLJ International Legal Director.
Countries where religious minorities are not accepted include China, the Middle East and even parts of Eastern Europe.
“Humanitarians face similar persecutions as foreigners, because they're motivated by their faith," said Barrans.
The most recent case locally, is Pastor Saeed Abedini from Boise, who's been imprisoned, since September, after going to Iran to build an orphanage.
In a recent letter, he revealed how he was being brutally tortured because of this faith. "He had a love for the people, a lot of people wonder why he even went, but as Christians, we have a love for other people," said Naghmeh Abedini, Pastor Saeed Abedini’s Wife.
Experts said those who want to reach out globally have to prepare for months ahead of their trips.
They have to:
- Receive the proper vaccination
- Be in close contact with the members of their humanitarian organization
- Always travel in groups
- Learn to dress accordingly with the country's culture
- Know the country’s laws
- Learn what they are and are not allowed to say
Naghmeh said despite what her husband has gone through, she believes people still should go for what's in their hearts.
“As Christians, we're called to difficult places. It doesn't mean we should not go and share God's love with the people there," said Naghmeh.
Everyone is encouraged to sign an online petition to save Abedini. Here is link where you can learn about ways to support him.