This is how Canadian farmer Ian Greydanus described the Christians he met while on a Canadian Foodgrains Bank learning tour to Lebanon.
Ian and his wife Caroline, along with a handful of other Canadians, had the opportunity to hear the heartbreaking stories of Syrian refugees and witness the inspiring faith and sacrificial love of Christians in the Middle East.
Ian and Caroline have followed the work of World Renew closely for many years, but for them this trip was something new. This was an opportunity to do more than just read about the work of World Renew. They saw firsthand how World Renew is giving hope to families in some of the most difficult situations, and it left an indelible mark on their lives.
One of the most profound influences that this trip had on Caroline was solidifying her belief that “we really are all the same.” Syrians and North Americans, for example, may come from different countries, but both were created in the image of God and are beloved by Him—as we all are.
While in Lebanon, Ian and Caroline met Adnan*, a Syrian refugee from Aleppo. When the war descended upon Aleppo, Adnan had fled. He safely escaped and made his way to Lebanon as a refugee, but he was the only member of his family that escaped.
When Adnan first arrived in Lebanon, he had nothing. No food, no clothes, no home, and no family. In a place he’d never been before, without loved ones or the basic necessities of life, the odds were mounted terrifyingly high against him. But there is reason to be hopeful.
One of World Renew’s local church partners heard the story of this young man and reached out to provide what he needed most: clothes and vouchers to buy food. The compassion that this church demonstrated amazed Adnan. “I can’t imagine how God loves us, that he would send people like you to help us,” he shared.
On the left is a pastor of a local Lebanese church. He is passionate about helping Syrian refugees like Adnan.
It’s nearly impossible to grasp the magnitude of the Syrian civil war and the number of lives affected by the crisis, but heartbreaking stories like Adnan’s remind us that every life matters. For Ian and Caroline, the story of Adnan and other refugees strengthened their desire to help those in need around the world.
And in the midst of the horrors and heartbreak of the civil war, Syrian communities are also coming together. “What I saw,” shared Caroline, “was Syrian and Lebanese people helping each other. The crisis gave everyone a purpose; something to live for.” Crisis is drawing people together from across social, cultural, religious, and generational divides, to help their neighbors that are in great need.
Without strong and committed local Christians, Adnan might never have received the essentials he needed when he first arrived in Lebanon. It’s impossible to know where he might be now if that assistance hadn’t come. But we celebrate how the story of Adnan and thousands of others has changed from anguish and uncertainty to joy and purpose. Please pray for peace in Syria and for safety for those who have fled their homes. And please give generously today.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the individual.