The war in Syria is far from over. Since early December, over one million people from the Syrian province of Idlib have been displaced withnowhere to find refuge. In other places that are considered “safer”, humanitarian needs have never been greater. Please join us in prayer for God’s light to shine in the Idlib darkness, and for renewed strength and wisdom for MERATH's partners elsewhere in Syria.
As the Syrian government tries to regain control of the Idlib province, over 1 million civilians, mostly women and children, have fled to escape the fighting. For many, it is not the first time they are fleeing, but this time they have nowhere to go to. They are being crammed into an ever-shrinking area closer and closer to the Turkish border. Most of them can barely afford much less find food or adequate shelter. Many are packed together in makeshift tents or simply sleeping in the streets or under trees, completely exposed to the cold winter weather that has already caused several babies and children to freeze to death.
In other areas that are considered safer, most of the displaced people have nowhere to go back to and the financial crisis in Lebanon has had a devastating effect on the Syrian economy. Our church partners on the ground have been doing an amazing job at providing relief to thousands of families through food and winter assistance, friendly spaces and psychosocial support for children, agricultural assistance and home rehabilitation. But they are drained by nine years of ever-growing needs around them and need our continuous prayers and support. A priest we work with (through the FMEEC (Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches)) in northwest Syria recently told us “the displaced people we serve used to fear the shelling but at least they could put food on the table. Now there is no more shelling where they are, but they can’t afford food”.
Despite it all, we hold on to the belief that nothing is unreachable for God. The belief that even in such seemingly hopeless situations, He can intervene in miraculous ways and His light can shine even brighter.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” -John 1: 5
A DROP OF WATER IN A DESERT OF MISERY
Reading the news and keeping up to date with what is happening everywhere around us has been pretty challenging these last three months. Helplessness, discouragement, and lassitude are only some of the feelings we all struggle with at times.
But then we suddenly remember something seemingly small that a partner of ours working in Beirut’s most impoverished suburb once said, giving us this wonderful metaphor: “Our help is like a drop of water in a desert of misery. Yet where that drops fall, a flower grows.”
And then, inspired by this beautiful image, we remember a story another partner recently shared with us. It was the story of a family of six, displaced all the way from Al-Hasakeh to Southern Syria, whose seven-month old baby girl was blind, had additional malformation, and urgently needed a surgery to survive. This local church that we work with has been able to holistically support this family, starting with handing out food boxes, which have in turn allowed the family to save some money to buy fuel and keep warm. With the help of other organizations in their area, the church has also covered the surgery expenses and provided the mother with a sewing machine so she can work from home and does not have to leave her baby girl with special needs.
And then, we see them again: all the colorful little flowers that God is growing everywhere around us. In contrast with the predominant darkness and dryness, they actually stand out even more.
God has not forgotten this part of the world. He has a plan. And He uses His church to continue to accomplish it.
Here's what you can do to help:
- For God’s work in the hearts of the parties involved in the Syrian conflict, toward a quick and peaceful resolution
- For God’s peace beyond understanding for all displaced people, who have lost everything, and who live in constant fear, anxiety, and uncertainty
- For God’s perfect love and comfort for those who lost loved ones, especially children who lost parents and parents who lost children
- For God’s providence for those in dire need of shelter, food, or medical assistance
- For God’s wisdom and renewed strength for our partner churches in Syria
- For God-given hope in the midst of suffering
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