“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). It’s a story as old as Christianity. The church in the Middle East is a rock that will not be shaken. Since the first days of the church, Christians in the Middle East have been committed to loving and helping their neighbors. This continues today. From the outset of the civil war in Syria churches across the Middle East have stood alongside vulnerable families…
It’s a story as old as Christianity. The church in the Middle East is a rock that will not be shaken. Since the first days of the church, Christians in the Middle East have been committed to loving and helping their neighbors. This continues today.
“Since the first days of the church, Christians in the Middle East have been committed to loving and helping their neighbors.
This continues today.”
From the outset of the civil war in Syria churches across the Middle East have stood alongside vulnerable families, providing these families with much-needed assistance. And for over five years World Renew has been equipping many churches throughout Syria and Lebanon with the resources to alleviate the suffering of those in need, regardless of who they are.
As these churches remain a rock in their local community, they offer a strong testimony about God’s unshakeable love for the poor, vulnerable, and oppressed. It’s also a reminder that Christians in North America have not forgotten the people of Syria.
“Why is the church in North America helping us?” These are the words repeated time and again by Syrian refugees receiving assistance through World Renew’s programs. Behind their question is another more poignant question: “why would a person on the other side of the world, whom I’ve never met, care about me?”
The answer is simple: because we are all the same. We are all created in the image of God and are dearly loved by Him. And so World Renew continues to stand with these churches as they demonstrate God’s love to families in this region.
Local pastor meets with family of Syrian refugees.
One of these families is Bassel and Qamar. Before the war began, they lived in a small Syrian village on the outskirts of Aleppo. Life was comfortable – they owned a house, had a job and their eldest child had begun attending a nearby school. The war was far away, and surely peace would prevail before fighting reached their village, they thought. There was no reason to believe that life would change.
Unfortunately, we know all too well that peace did not come quickly. Even today it is as elusive as it was in those early days of the war more than six years ago. The war descended upon their small village and everything changed for Bassel and Qamar. Fragile peace was torn apart by the explosions of bombs and unrelenting gunshots. It became impossible for Bassel to safely travel to work and the family’s income quickly fell apart. Soon, Bassel and Qamar were no longer able to afford the basics for their children.
With little hope for a future in their village they made the difficult decision to leave their home and everything they knew behind and flee to Lebanon. In only a few months, this family had lost almost everything.
Qamar holds her youngest in their home in Lebanon
In spite of the incomprehensible tragedy that they had faced, Bassel and Qamar worked hard to provide for their family in their new home. For over two years they found peace, security and financial stability in Lebanon.
Yet, just as quickly as life had changed in their small village outside of Aleppo, life was again flipped upside-down. Bassel lost his job and was unable to find a steady source of income. For a time, even their children were forced to find work in order to survive.
During this time of need, Qamar made a connection with a local church that was receiving support from World Renew. This church provided Qamar with milk and diapers that she needed but had not been able to afford. Receiving the milk and diapers allowed Qamar and her husband to be able to afford other necessities. This support has meant that their children no longer need to work to earn additional money. They can now focus on school and, when the day of school is done, play as children should be able to.
This church is one of many in the Middle East that is helping families in need. World Renew is grateful for these partnerships and the faith of local Christians that make this work possible. And these partnerships would not be possible without the prayers and generous support of those in North America.
Yet peace in the region remains elusive, so this work must continue. Ongoing funds are needed to continue extending God’s love to families who have lost everything. Please pray for peace in Syria and for safety for those who have fled their homes. And please give generously today.
IMAGE CREDIT: Helen Manson – Tearfund NZ