What prompted Help The Persecuted to want to expand and place a new field team in Syria?
The war in Syria and the horrific acts of ISIS led to what has been described as the largest refugee crisis in history. One of the most staggering statistics is that 58% of the more than 7 million Syrian and Iraqi refugees are Christians. We have already expanded into Iraq. If ever there was a time to support our suffering brothers and sisters in Syria, it’s now.
Once the field team is on the ground in Syria, what kind of impact will this have immediately to help persecuted Christians there?
Our indigenous field team members come with decades of experience ministering in the Muslim world and working in insecure environments, so they will be able to have an impact right away. Their first priority will be identifying those that need immediate help to get out of danger — whether that is help with transport, relocation to a safe house, or legal counsel.
Beyond these emergency needs, our team will provide support to persecuted believers in various forms, from food and essential living expenses, to needed medicines, biblical counseling, access to schooling so the displaced can complete their education, providing job assistance, and helping to foster independence.
What are some challenges Help The Persecuted will encounter as you expand into Syria?
Syria is not only an unstable and insecure environment; it is a country in crisis. Brutal persecution among the Christian community has reached fevered pitch.
Hundreds of thousands have been displaced from their homes. Children are living in squalor. It is into this desperation that we will bring emergency relief, crisis support, and the love of Jesus Christ.
Are there other countries around the world that you would like to expand to? If so, which ones and why?
We are currently developing plans to expand our field team beyond the Middle East and North Africa into Asia, including into Iran and Pakistan and then into China.
We have worked through local partners in these areas. But we believe that establishing permanent Help The Persecuted field teams will help us meet more needs and increase the impact of the ministry.
Other articles in the May 2019 newsletter: