In recent months images of children fleeing Syria have flooded the news. Millions of children are living in fear as a brutal conflict and unrelenting violence is on the increase in many Middle Eastern countries. However, before these stories were making big headlines, one organization saw the need to reach out to children caught in the crossfire of terrorism.
Lenya Heitzig, wife of Pastor Skip Heitzig and founder of Reload Love, has a love for God and a compassion for terror victims; a compassion that began when the towers fell in New York City on September 11, 2001. On that day, all of America was left numb and speechless as terrorism hit home. The 9/11 attacks left a permanent scar on the collective psyche of a country that now has been brought into the world of terrorism.
As American soldiers prepared to fight a new war on terror with bombs and bullets another army was being raised up, an army of love. From the 9/11 ministry that Lenya began, which was called Mercy B.A.N.D.S, another ministry would follow in response to the world’s most helpless victims of terrorism, children. This is how Reload Love was born.
What is the Reload Love mission?
“We are the army of love. Our mission is to convey God’s love by fighting back with tenderness, to redeem the lives of all children of all faiths and ethnicities who have been impacted by terrorism in conflict zones worldwide. We rally as many people as possible to join our cause. By igniting a fervency for compassion and persuading people that one small action can make an enormous difference, we inspire others to fight beside us wielding the most powerful weapon of all: our hearts.”
How does Reload love accomplish this mission?
“Well, infants are innocent, regardless of the race, religion, or regional boundaries of their parents. Sadly, they fall victim to violence simply for living in a place where terror strikes indiscriminately. Reload Love helps heal the lives of these little ones who have suffered from the violence of terrorism, by raising awareness through collecting thousands of pounds of spent bullet casings stowed away in barrels, boxes, and pallets, unable to safely be reused for ammunition. We gratefully take these donated shells and melt them down, transforming them into beautiful charms to be worn proudly by champions who help support the ministry. Each charm is made from 100 percent used bullet casings, and proceeds from their sales are donated to nonprofit organizations that aid children around the world who have been caught in the crossfire of terrorism. We launch teams into action, sending them to countries in crisis to help identify victims of terror and support NGOs that bring relief through medicine, safe spaces for children, clothing, and education.
How has Reload Love made an impact so far?
“Just to give you a look at some of what we have been able to do so far, Reload Love sponsored an annual visit to Tha Da Der, Myanmar, to offer a Christ-based children’s program and a much needed medical clinic. While there, the team heard the life-transforming story of Paw Bo, a boy who grew up in fear because his village is in one of the most volatile conflict zones in the region. The Burma Army had attacked his village and burned his home twice by the time he was twelve years old. The second time, his mother—pregnant with his younger sister—went into labor and delivered on the trail as they fled.
Hope came every year when he attended a Good Life Club (GLC) put on by the Free Burma Rangers. There he learned that Christians around the world wanted to help and that he could be part of that help. Eventually, Paw Bo became a GLC leader and now encourages other children on how to endure crisis just like he did as a young boy. He helps with singing, playing games, and performing biblically based drama. Paw Bo represents the future of his community, his state, and—we hope—Myanmar. Reload Love hopes to build a playground in Tha Da Der in the near future.
Also, Reload Love sent Pastor Skip Heitzig and a team of people to offer relief to several villages in Iraq. After a church service in Erbil where Skip taught the Bible, one of our team members had a divine encounter. On the street outside the church, he bumped into a woman and her daughter, whose name was Ragah. Tragically, ISIS had killed Ragah’s Christian father during an attack on the city of Mosul. The mother explained that the girl had not spoken a word since that day—not even to her mother. Compassion spilled from our team member’s eyes as he smiled at the silent girl. As a father of three daughters, his heart broke for her quiet suffering. While the mother and our team member spoke, the girl seemed to be listening intently. He asked a few questions and then inquired if the girl understood. Her eyes welled with pain as she nodded and said her first word in a long time: “Yes.” At once, the girl’s mother asked this gentle man to pray for her daughter. He prayed for healing, renewal, and restoration. Ultimately, he asked God to bring salvation and hope to the hopeless for this family, the city of Erbil, and the nation of Iraq. Reload Love continues to support this village by providing for education and a children’s program.
Finally, we just had a very exciting opportunity for Reload Love to pay for twenty-five Iraqi children to now attend school. We are so blessed to be able to encourage these children, give them hope and show them the love of Jesus Christ in a very tangible way.”
How can people help or get involved with Reload Love?
“Offer to be a soldier of love by donating spent bullet casings, volunteering your time to our organization or providing financial assistance for terror impacted children. By wearing our symbol, you help raise awareness of our cause and inspire others to join our ranks.
Voice your concern to others. The more people know about the plight of these children and how simple it is to help them, the more people who will join the army of love. The more soldiers we recruit, the more lives we can heal.
Lastly, engage with us and stay updated on how Reload Love, with your help, is giving hope back to children in what once seemed like hopeless circumstances. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and help us spread the love.”
Many of the world’s children are in crisis, and just as America will never forget what happened when terrorism hit us like never before and with such shocking magnitude, we must not forget that terrorism is still affecting an alarming amount of families around the globe and children need our help the most. With over twenty million children worldwide being left homeless due to terrorism we cannot turn a blind eye to their suffering. Children deserve to be safe, live in a protective environment, and have a chance to play and go to school. Pray for these children, pray for Reload Love as they reach out to minister to these precious little one affected by terrorism, and pray about how God may use you to partner with ministries like Reload Love that come to the aid of children in crisis.
If you would like more information about Reload Love, visit their website at www.ReloadLove.com.
Mike Lutz is the author of the newly released daily devotional “God Every Day: 365 Life Application Devotions.” Mike also has authored the inspirational book “Discovering God’s Will for Your Life: Your Journey with God.” Coming soon from Mike is the biblical thriller “The Armageddon Conspiracy.” For more information visit www.MikeLutz.org.