May
29

Syria Update

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_61977923_syria_maluula_gMay 29, 2013 [Persecution] We can learn so much from our brothers and sisters in places like Syria, about standing strong and how to pray during persecution. Be sure to read the prayer at the end of this post, written by a Syrian. This article is from Open Doors, a ministry I have been involved with for the past eight years that serves the persecuted around the world.

“For 2000 years there has been a church in Syria. It has survived since the earliest days of Christianity. But now there is conflict, violence, and persecution.  More than 15 million people have left Syria, around 4.5 million are displaced internally. Among them are thousands and thousands of Christians. Pastor B., a Syrian church leader, says, ‘The church in the Middle East is sacrificing her people to witness positively to Muslims and fellow countrymen. But once the Christians have left they have destroyed their homes, their churches, and everything with a clear message they are not welcome back. In one instance there was a town that had 7,000 Christians and 7,000 Muslims and from the mosque minarets they were telling the Christians to leave or be slaughtered one by one.’

By the same token, those who choose to stay, whether because of conviction, family, finances, or inability to leave, are making a difference in unexpected ways. A pastor found a family of 20 people sitting around on mattresses because they had nothing left. He was able to arrange food and shelter for them; and the family was so grateful some of the elderly were actually clinging to him with thankfulness. His care for his fellow Syrians was all the more poignant because they were Muslim. They told him they had been to several mosques and no one was willing to help. Because of his kindness and compassion, some of the family members even asked him to read from the Bible to them.

The church in Syria is standing strong despite the onslaught against them, and have asked brothers and sisters around the world to pray for them to have strength for the things to come. One Christian in Syria asks for us to pray this prayer:

‘We ask for a miraculous restoration between the different groups. Let peace return. What is impossible for us, is possible for you, Lord. Let the people of Syria repent and find you. We pray for Your protection for Christians in Syria: guide them in these difficult days. May the church be a place of refuge for many and may the churches be united. We pray that the church will not be banned from Syria, but that it will stay and grow stronger than ever before. Thank you God that during this suffering, Your hand is very strong. Muslims are coming to church and discovering how great You are. The prayer is growing in Syria and we feel You are near.  We are stunned in amazement, Oh Lord. Your wisdom is far above us. We submit in peace to your sovereignty. Let your will be done, Lord. Let your glory and goodness be over Syria. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.'”

If you have a heart for Syria, you may wish to support Open Doors. I also have a friend who became a lawyer and returned to Syria to work for free (or very little) to defend Christians in the courts from illegal persecution and discrimination in Syria. She and her husband depend solely on the support and donation of individuals. If you would like to support her I can assist you in communicating with her. – Karen

(The photo is of Malula [Ma’loula] a village 56km northeast of Damascus, the last surviving place on earth where Western Aramaic is spoken. Half a century ago 15,000 people lived here. Now 2,000 do, though that number triples with vacationers during summer. Western Aramaic is related to the Aramaic Jesus spoke, and though not exactly His dialect, it is linguistically important for this reason. The population consists mostly of Antiochian Orthodox and Melkite Greek Catholic Christians, and non-Arabic Muslims (unlike most Muslims who were Arabised and adopted both Arabic language and identity).

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