“At times it seems as if the whole world has become refugees and the few of us, who are privileged enough to wake up to the sound of an alarm clock instead of a siren, those of us who are enveloped by a veil of safety many of us fail to appreciate, have become desensitized to the migrating numbers, to the images of the dead, shrugging them away as a collective misery that this ailing part of the world must endure.”
Aysha Taryam, Editor in Chief, The Gulf Today
“The lives the refugees had were our lives: they owned corner shops and sold cars, they farmed or worked in factories or owned factories or sold insurance. None of them expected to be running for their lives, leaving everything they had because they had nothing to come back to, making smuggled border crossings, walking past the dismembered corpses of other people who had tried to make the crossing but had been caught or been betrayed.”
Neil Gaiman, The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction
1 – Rescued
Ahmad and his family were starving. It had been days since they had last eaten, and their water was gone. Along with 170 others, they were trapped in the basement of a building that had collapsed. Some of the elderly had already died due to hunger and heat but, despite the deteriorating situation, no one dared escape for fear of the surrounding ISIS snipers.
It was the fifth night of their imprisonment, and Ahmad slipped in and out of semi-conscious sleep, worried that the next day would be his family’s last. While he slept, Jesus appeared to him in a dream and said, “I have left you bread and water just outside. Wake up and get it now.”
Trembling, Ahmad made his way to the basement’s one portal of escape—the same exit where countless others had died immediately from sniper fire. As he stepped out of the rubble and into the dark, he immediately found bread and water. No shots fired.
Bursting into tears, Ahmad brought the provisions down into the basement and shared them with everyone. He told them about his dream, about how he had seen Jesus, but they all thought he had lost his mind. However, in secret, a Christian friend assured Ahmad that the Lord had chosen him.
Each night for the next month, Ahmad had the same dream. And each night he would wake up, exit the basement, and find bread and water waiting for him. On the day of the town’s emancipation, once he and his fellows were brought up from their prison, it was clear just how violent and bloody the conflict above them had been. Dozens of dead bodies littered the streets.
The Lord had saved Ahmad and his family.
“The last time I was in Aleppo, I saw three buildings destroyed in front of me. One rocket—stone buildings, strong buildings, four-story buildings. So at that very moment, I said let’s go quickly. I took some of our things. I thought the second rocket would be on our home. We went to our car; it was almost all under the stones. We walked to her parents’ house. And afterwards, we went to Beirut.”
Dr. Vanig Garabedian, former Medical Director for Women’s and Community Health Center at Aleppo Maternity Hospital, speaking to ‘The National Post’
“We ran and it was very hard; my wife carried our eight-month-old daughter, and I carried my other daughter. It was terrible; we saw so many dead bodies along the way that at one point my wife fainted and even now, my children are having nightmares and wake up crying.”
Fawaz, an Iraqi refugee, speaking to UNHCR
2 – Crisis
It is estimated that some 11 million Syrians, roughly 50% of the total population, have been displaced due to the civil war and conflict with ISIS – of which, just over 10% are Christian (1.1 million). Furthermore, it is estimated that up to 500,000 have died as a result of the Syrian diaspora. A culture so central to the history of the world is now in ruins.
For Syrian Christians in the Middle East, the conflict is amplified. Forced to flee from the communities that once cradled them, they’re now seen as pariahs in the various new towns and countries to which they have migrated. Each believer struggles to find work, housing, or education.
And the possibility of returning home is hopeless: homes, businesses, and churches have all been either burned or bombed out, and there is little to no state infrastructure or support.
Ahmad is one of those Christians. But Help The Persecuted stepped in and provided housing and living expenses for him and his family as they migrated to Lebanon.
“For a start, people who traveled for so many miles through such horrific conditions in order to find work cannot accurately be portrayed as lazy benefit-scroungers.”
Patrick Kingsley, the New Odyssey
Helping persecuted Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey is one thing. Helping Syrians believers rebuild their homes, businesses, churches, and communities – in Syria – is quite another. Help The Persecuted’s mission is to Rescue, Restore, and Rebuild.
As we focus on these priorities, relying upon God’s wisdom and providence, we trust He will use Syrian Christians to share the gospel with their countrymen and save them from darkness.
Rescue more Christians like Ahmad by donating today. Your donation can literally help restore an entire community and turn darkness into light.