The believers expressed deep thanks to the Lord and to the people that are making this vital relief work possible. A co-worker adds, “We thank you for sharing your love with us and your unlimited care….even though you don’t personally know us. With this ministry many families have gotten closer to God. We thank your organization for helping us as volunteers to play a positive role in our church and society and for supplying a massive part of our nation’s needs. Thank you for your caring and drawing a smile on every suffering face during these difficult circumstances.”
Aleppo (another church) – One of the churches in Aleppo is helping provide food for some 400 families and church members are regularly visiting those in need. “However, one of the main difficulties we are suffering from is the medical need due to rising prices and the inability of some families to cover the costs for treatments when they become ill. We can add that most families, if not all, are seeking jobs because they have lost their original work, that’s why we intend to establish a project in which the families can work in workshops earning their own incomes.”
Eastern Syria– Relief work affords great opportunities for Christians to share hope because many non-Christians come to churches for help. As believers live out the calling to love their neighbors, those who come for help sometimes discover far more than material relief. “A man who recently graduated from the university returned to his hometown by the river Euphrates. Soon afterwards his home was destroyed by the war and his family fled to Al Hasakah where they found refuge in a school. The family was afraid in this strange environment and didn’t know anyone there. When they received food packages from us, and other things, he and his sister came to listen to the children’s meeting in the school. They didn’t have any contacts before with Christians as they are from a very conservative Muslim family. They had many questions. ‘Why don’t the Muslims help us, only these Christians, about whom we always heard how bad they are?’ He felt confused and ashamed about the things happening in the country. But the love of these Christians seemed real and he continued to listen to the stories of Jesus. Then his sister had a dream. In her dream her brother was wearing a cross and she saw Jesus helping him. The next day her brother also had a dream and came to us with many questions. The whole family started to attend regularly the church meetings and reading the New Testament. They began telling people what God has done for them. The church has started special meetings for Muslims and many regularly attend discipleship classes.”
Al Malikiyah– In this city near the Turkish border, at least 10 to 20 Internally Displaced Families come to the church daily asking for help. “Often they have to live in old broken, empty houses, as they don’t have any relatives who can help, and there is no money to pay rent or buy food. Many volunteers from the church are visiting these families in their houses,” says a co-worker.
Al Qamishli– A co-worker in the Northeast region of the country reports that, “When we went to distribute the food packages we saw a lady with three children crying on the sidewalk. We asked her what was wrong. She said that she had nothing to feed her children, her husband had died and she had no relatives. The children were hungry. We brought her home and gave her a food package.”
Afrin– When the war came to the Kurdish areas in Aleppo in the beginning of April, more than 200,000 Kurds fled to Afrin, in northwest Syria. Among the refugees are many Christians. While visiting refugees housed in local schools, a co-worker was asked to help meet the schools’ needs in addition to helping the refugees. At that time, the schools had no milk for infants, hygiene articles, and medicine. “We were able to provide some help,” the co-worker said. Believers who had fled from Aleppo to Afrin meet regularly and have started new house meetings in 5 villages.
Aleppo-The manager of one of the relief projects in Aleppo reports, “Last month lots of new families came to the church and asked for help. One of the churches helped in total about 750 families last month and many new families come to the service. We also started a service especially for Muslims on Thursday. Some of the church neighbors send many internally displaced people (IDPs) to the church, because the church is known to distribute aid regardless of people’s denomination or religion. But of course we can’t help all the people that register. People from the church visit people at home if ever possible before they receive any aid.”
All across Syria, Open Doors is partnering with churches that are reaching out to help those in need. This spring alone, more than 8,000 families benefitted monthly from this valuable work of mercy. Listed are several communities who received support:
Father, in the wake of such tragic news coming out of Syria on a daily basis, we praise You for what You are doing in the lives of many people. Thank You for Your mercy that is extended through Open Doors in partnership with the churches. Thank You for the lives that are preserved through this ministry and for the many who are drawn into saving faith through the compassion shown them by Christians. Even while we pray fervently for peace to reign in Syria, we praise You for Your hand so clearly at work in the midst of the chaos. In the name of Jesus who hears the cry of His people, Amen.