Date: September 19, 2016
Syria (MNN) — A week ago today, Syria entered a ceasefire giving the country some calm amid its five-year civil war. Now, after a U.S.-led air strike bombed Syrian army positions supposedly by mistake, this ceasefire is on rocky terrain.
And though the shaky ceasefire has given the Syrian people a little quiet, their humanitarian aid has been quieted, too.
Humanitarian Aid Blocked
“We’re very glad that we get this support, we need this food to survive”, a refugee told an Open Doors worker about the food distribution programs. (Photo/Caption courtesy of Open Doors USA via Facebook)
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has so far failed to authorize humanitarian aid convoys to get through checkpoints, which was part of the negotiations leading to the ceasefire.
As a result, the Syrian people are faced with increasing needs.
However, Open Doors USA helps support Syrian churches, and by doing so, is helping support the Syrian people. Open Doors’ Emily Fuentes explains the situation:
“This is the greatest refugee crisis of many of our lives. Just thousands upon thousands [of people] fleeing. This year alone, millions have already been displaced. More than a third of the people killed in these air strikes and bombings are children and women. It’s just a horrific crisis…”
But because Syria seems worlds away to Americans and others, including the United States’ third-party presidential candidate, a lot of people can easily turn a blind eye on the world’s greatest refugee crisis since World War II.
“The historical Christian churches, and buildings, and towns have all been obliterated in this crisis. And so, for us, we want to keep reminding American Christians that, even though it’s been more than five years, we can’t grow weary of doing good,” Fuentes says.
One of the main battlegrounds in Syria has been the city of Aleppo. The city serves as a kind of key in the civil war. Fuentes says once a group controls it, all that’s left is a game of taking the remaining economic resources of this stronghold. That’s why so many groups are choosing to destroy the city while fighting for it.
Support Syrian Christians
But now, over half of Syria’s children can’t even attend school…let alone process the tragedies and horrors they’ve witnessed.
This young girl was caught in a bomb explosion in Syria, injuring her leg. She is now receiving help in a refugee camp. (Photo/Caption courtesy of Open Doors USA via Facebook)
With almost an entire country’s young generation passing into young adulthood without much opportunity for a future, who can step in and help them?
How? Well, start with prayer.
After all, Christians are called to prayer. In fact, Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Fuentes exclaims, “We’re seeing extremists giving their lives to Christ, pastors who are choosing to remain, reaching out to their communities and sharing Christ’s light with them. And people are coming to Christ.”
Yet, a big reason for this is because there are many Syrian Christians who chose to stay. They chose to share the Gospel and live like Christ regardless of their circumstance. They have chosen to be faithful in the face of disaster—to share God’s love, grace, and mercy.
And, as their brothers and sisters in Christ, we have a responsibility to them — to not turn our eyes away, but to come alongside them and help.
How To Help
Open Doors invites you to join them in this endeavor in a couple of ways.
For one, advocacy. Be vocal about the injustices Syrian Christians are facing and also their needs. Share with friends and family on social media, write to your state representatives.
(Image courtesy of Open Doors ISA)
Again, Open Doors helps aid Syrians through helping financially support its churches. Consider giving to the need and, by doing so, helping fulfill some of the humanitarian needs Syrians are facing.
But donations aren’t only helping provide aid, it’s helping share the Gospel among broken people who have been abused by their own religion. And often times when Christians stay and/or help, people want to know why. The answer? Jesus.
And finally, as previously mentioned, pray incessantly. Pray for Syria’s people, for the Christians who’ve chosen to stay and be Christ’s hands and feet, and also pray for the ISIS members terrorizing these people to meet Christ and have their lives transformed.
To give to Open Doors USA, click here!