Aid worker 'humbled' by overseas experience


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December 1, 2015 12:47 PM

Aid worker for Samaritan's Purse, Steve Parkinson, gives a presentation to the Lloydminster Rotary club on his visit to Jordan where he helped Syrian refugees.

A Lloydminster aid worker recently returned from the Middle East where he was helping Syrian refugees in the nearby country of Jordan.
Steve Parkinson made the trip, which lasted from Oct. 30 until Nov. 11, with the help of the humanitarian organization, Samaritan’s Purse.
“Ultimately, with the Syrian war and what ISIS is doing over there, with women and children being slaughtered everyday, we wanted to go there and make a difference,” said Parkinson.
Parkinson was searching for ways to help overseas and the only project he could find at the time in the Middle East was in Mafraq, Jordan, just south of the Syrian border.
When he arrived he spent the 12-day trip at the Mafraq Alliance Church.
It was a humbling experience, he said.
While he was there he worked with kids in schools and distributed things like medical aid to families that had made it from the refugee camps to the city of Mafraq.
He also helped deliver bedding, sheets, clothing, food and heaters.
Parkinson said there wasn’t any natural gas or other ways of providing warmth, so the heaters were all the more important.
“It was great (but) I wish there was more that I could do really,” he said of the experience.
“You get over there and you visit with these families and hear their stories, but you feel a little bit helpless because we’re really powerless to do too much.”
He said he sometimes wonders if the work he did really made a difference, but reminds himself that every little but of effort helps.
Just going there and letting the people in need know that there are others in the world who care about what’s going on gives them hope, which Parkinson said can be a big deal in itself.
The message he’d like to bring back to Canada after the aid mission is the people he was helping just want simple things like a safe and healthy life without fear of persecution.
“They don’t want to come to Canada as refugees; if they wanted to come they’d be here as immigrants,” he said.
“What they really want is the rest of the world to go over there and help them get their country back safe.”
The trip Parkinson returned from was the first Jordanian mission for Samaritan’s Purse, but the group is planning more trips for the new year and Parkinson hopes to be back there offering aid again by March.

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