It is hard to believe that the ongoing Syrian civil war started 10 years ago. This is an anniversary we all wish we did not have to commemorate. As the situation for families affected by the war keeps on getting darker, God’s light keeps on shining ever brighter through the relief ministry of our partner churches.
When a team of doctors and nurses from Northern Ireland landed on Lebanon’s soil for an intense short-term medical mission in partnership with LSESD, they were able to tend to so much more than just physical needs. In the case of one Syrian boy, they played a major role in helping answer his fervent prayer to go to school. This is the story of Iyad.
The war in Syria is far from over. Since early December, over one million people from the Syrian province of Idlib have been displaced with nowhere to find refuge. In other places that are considered “safer”, humanitarian needs have never been greater.
After nine years of war, we had hoped that the worst was behind us. However, the most severe humanitarian crisis since the beginning of the war is currently unfolding in Idlib, a province in Northwestern Syria, following efforts by the Syrian government to recapture one of the last rebel and jihadi-held strongholds.
Strengthening the witness of the Church in the Arab World is the very reason we exist as LSESD. We made a decision to stand by the Church in Syria since the beginning of the war in 2011, and to date we continue to partner with around 25 churches that are deeply involved in responding to the needs of their people.
It has been nine years. Nine years of crisis in Syria. Nine years of displacements. We hear more and more people say, “It is safer now; why don’t they go back? Even if we give them food today, they will still need food tomorrow”. Precisely!
Jesus once told His disciples that the Kingdom of God is like a small seed, that grows into a mighty tree that brings life to its surroundings. Each year BCYM meets over 1000 children at their events at which they aim to plant and nurture the seeds of the Kingdom in their lives.
The scenes of destruction in Syria that have been circulating on social media throughout the Syrian war are a vivid reminder that in a context of war, necessities become luxuries and what might seem trivial or easily accessible for most of us becomes a cherished treasure.