Nuhad Tomeh, head of relief for the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), recently asked children in Baghdad what they would most like to see happen in their war-torn city. A 12-year-old boy named Khalad said he'd like to be able to go to school.

The dangers of getting to school—including bombs and kidnappers—and frequent shutdowns threaten his goal of becoming a computer specialist. "Many times the classes are interrupted, and I worry that I won't ever finish my school," Khalad said.

Besides distributing aid to refugees, MECC is funneling funds and relief supplies directly to schools and churches in Iraq. MECC includes Chaldean Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Coptic, and evangelical churches.

"There have been many Christians who have tried to leave Iraq because of the [violent] situation, but also because of the economy—joblessness is very high," Tomeh said by telephone from Beirut. "We're also developing income-generation programs for these churches, so they can help their people to stay in the country."

Iraqi Christians plead for help from the worldwide body of believers, aid agencies report. U.S. Christians can contribute to MECC relief, development, and rehabilitation projects in Iraq, as well as to aid for refugees in Jordan and Syria. Write personal checks (or money orders and cashier's checks) to "Middle East Council of Churches," designating them for "IRRP" or "Iraq Relief & Rehabilitation Program," and send to:

The Middle East Council of Churches, P.O. Box 5376, Makhoul Street, Beirut, Lebanon.

Tomeh says U.S. believers interested in writing letters of support to Iraqi Christians can e-mail or fax him to obtain e-mail addresses. Contact Tomeh at ntomeh@cyberia.net.Lb, or fax him at (011) 961.1.344.894.

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