Over the last 4 years, the Syrian Civil War has forced 11 million people, about half of the country’s population, out of their homes. While most of them have been displaced within the country, 4 million have fled to other countries – creating the largest surge of refugees since World War II.
Recent attacks in Paris demonstrated the intense violence that these refugees are seeking to escape. Unfortunately, backlash from the attacks means that many of those seeking safety will be forced to stay in refugee camps longer than they anticipated. For them, each new day means they continue to struggle with tremendous physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
Faith Comes By Hearing workers recently visited partners who are working with Syrian refugees in Lebanon. They were not allowed to take pictures of the camps they visited, but they describe the conditions as deplorable. The “shelters” are simple wood frames covered with plastic sheeting and no insulation. There is electricity available to those who can afford it (enough for a single lightbulb and a TV) and fresh water for drinking or cooking only. While there are outhouses, gray-water sewage is being dumped into open ditches. In one location, bathing and washing are often done in an algae-filled pond adjacent to the camp.
During the rainy season, the camp is ankle deep in mud and water soaks into the dirt floor of any shelter that doesn’t have a concrete slab. In the winter, the temperatures drop and snow often covers the ground. Those fortunate enough to have a small wood stove have heat when they can find or buy fuel. Those who cannot afford wood will burn plastic, discarded clothing, or anything else they can scavenge. The people wear their brokenness and hopelessness in the deep lines on their faces.
One of our partners works with Syrian refugees who come from a variety of religious backgrounds. In addition to caring for these families on a physical level, our partner supports them with spiritual care through regular Bible studies, monthly fellowship gatherings, and personal home visits.
Support from people like you, who are providing BibleSticks containing God’s Word in the heart languages of these people, is making a difference. Our partners tell us that, when people start listening to the Gospel, it leads to many opportunities to answer questions they have about God. Having access to God’s Word is helping them find true peace, hope, and comfort:
A partner gave a BibleStick to a refugee family grieving the loss of their daughter, who was killed while trying to escape their homeland. The family gladly accepted the gift and the partner promised to check back with them in 2 weeks.
When he returned, he asked what they had been listening to. The husband recited passages he had memorized from Matthew and Revelation. The wife said she was touched by a passage in 1 Peter that focused on real, inward beauty as opposed to beauty created by outward adornments. The partner said that seeing this kind of impact proves that God’s Word does not return void in the lives of these people.
A young Kurdish man wanted to know about Jesus, so partners gave him a BibleStick. As he listened, he became a believer and his life was transformed. Though he has been displaced by the fighting, he wants to go back and help his people discover the truth about Jesus. He has taken a strong stand for the Lord. Since his family has not completely rejected him, this young man believes that, as he lives out his faith, his family will find the same hope he has found in Jesus.
At a women’s Bible study, one partner met a lady who was insistent that they both go back to her house right after the study. When they arrived, the woman explained that she and her husband were refugees who had fled the fighting and had only been in the area for about a month. She asked our partner, “I’ve have never heard of Jesus before, can you tell me who He is?”
The partner gave her a BibleStick and explained that if she listened, she would find the answer to her questions. Later, the woman said this was the first time she had ever heard anyone speak about Jesus. Though she was not ready to make a decision then, she wanted to learn more about Him and ask more questions.
Your support can make an eternal difference in the lives of people who have nowhere else to turn. Almost every family has lost loved ones, some can only afford 3 or 4 meals a week, and others live in physically demanding conditions – in addition to the spiritual darkness and emotional trauma. In their brokenness, God is bringing comfort and hope through His Word. Please help them find lasting peace in the midst of difficult circumstances.