Throughout 2013, Open Doors provided support to approximately 8,000 Syrian families each month, partnering with local churches to distribute relief packages to people struggling to survive in the harsh circumstances of this war-torn country. As the situation further deteriorated last March, the relief effort was intensified.
Burdened by the overwhelming needs surrounding them, local pastors are motivated to action in their desire to help their communities. A pastor from Tartus and his family have become accustomed to people knocking at their door, asking for help. Despite the challenges and daunting amount of work, he is enthusiastic when speaking of the relief effort.
“With the support of Open Doors, our church was able to support 1,800 families by the end of 2013. Recently, we saw new people fleeing to our area. In order to provide for more families, we reduced the size of the food packages. In this way, we were able to impact more people.”
The destitute refugees receiving relief aid look forward to visits from the church teams. Not only are they provided with practical assistance, but they are also given space to share their stories, and to receive encouragement and prayer. “Every day we hear new sad stories,” a pastor from Damascus shared. “Last week, a mother told us about her son who was killed in Maaloula. He died because he didn’t want to deny the Lord Jesus.”
Many of those supported by this project are Christians, but the teams have also reached out to the Muslim community. “We recently began helping a community of seventeen Sunni families with some hundred children, all of whom are living together in an old government warehouse,” a pastor shared. “They divided the warehouse into separate living spaces using bricks or cement blocks, and set up tents for each family. The winter weather worsened their living conditions. Their thin mattresses were completely soaked by the rainwater. None of them had heaters of any kind.”
Testimonies of this project’s impact have been pouring in from all over Syria. In the midst of chaos and terror, this relief project has become a great opportunity for the church to exemplify God’s love within the Syrian society.
In spite of these hopeful moments, the war continues to take a terrible toll, and one pastor in Syria writes, encouraging us to keep praying for them in their desperate circumstances.
I send you my greetings from Syria. I just want to inform you that we thankfully received your support. Unfortunately, it is still the same situation. Last week was tough week for us. Once again we saw the miracle of the Lord when a rocket hit in front of our building, but thank God nothing happened to us. However, the following day one of our friends died, and it was very hard to inform the family.
I am sure that it is only our Lord who protects us. Meanwhile, we are doing our best to serve Him and His people. Again, many thanks for your help and prayer. Please continue your prayer for better days.
Father, strengthen us to continue praying faithfully for Your church in Syria. Strengthen them daily to see Your care and provision for them, to see Your protection over them. As they face the loss of loved ones taken into Your presence, give them a vision of their own sure hope of the glory set before them. In the midst of all their suffering and need, show them the sustaining power of Your presence with them. Bring an end to war and suffering, Lord. In the meantime, increase their compassion and reach to their Muslim neighbors who are suffering, as well. Make Your power and glory known in this land. In the name of Jesus, who is our only sure hope in this life and the next, Amen.