Syria (PNS/MNN) — The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR predicted that left unchanged, the number of refugees fleeing violence in Syria might reach 1 million by June.
This week, that milestone was reached–a full three months ahead of schedule. The UN estimates that more than 7,000 refugees cross Syria's borders each night, fleeing to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, North Africa, and the Middle East.
However, the story within Syria itself is grimmer as more than 4 million people are trapped, in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
Pioneers ministry partners say life in refugee camps is difficult. It's still winter, so the nights are cold. Stomachs are empty. Fear and uncertainty prevail. They need blankets, clothing, shoes, food, fuel for cooking, medicines, and access to medical care.
During the month of March, AW Media is tailoring their message specifically to Syrians, sharing the hope of the Gospel. AW Media partners, already living in a country with hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, are able to provide follow-up to these media messages through individual visits to families.
During these visits, the workers provide material relief through food packages, food coupons, blankets, donated clothes, heaters, and other essential goods. By meeting these basic needs, the love of Christ becomes tangible, and lives are changed.
Already, 10 families have decided to follow Christ and are connected through a cooperative with a local church. And these 10 families will no doubt impact hundreds more when they return to Syria.
One Pioneer writes:
"As we've gotten to know some of them [Syrian refugees], we've become aware of their needs. The living situations of many are dismal. Often several families live together in a small room without electricity, running water, bathroom, or kitchen space. For many of them, their kids aren't able to attend school because they don't have money. We've started handing out food boxes and shoeboxes from Operation Christmas Child. Please join us in praying for wisdom about where and how to best be involved in meeting both the physical and spiritual needs of our neighbors."
In some cases, refugees are embracing the hope that comes through faith in Jesus alone. As God transforms their hearts, He is growing many of them into men and women who are bearing fruit among their own displaced countrymen.
"One Syrian refugee saw Christ heal his daughter while in the refugee camp. This event drew him to follow Jesus. Now he is reaching out by giving sacrificially and boldly proclaiming Christ.
"This winter he spent nights sleeping on his roof so that the women of another family could share a room with his wife and kids. He also housed another family whose belongings had been washed away in recent flooding. Praise God for these sacrificial acts of love from a new believer. Two others have recently made professions of faith. Pray that all of them would stand firm and continue to put themselves in contact with other believers so that they can be discipled."
These Pioneers and local Christians want to see Syrians meet the real Jesus for the first time. They want to see the new believers share the Gospel with other refugees and eventually take it back to their friends and family in Syria. This big vision is only possible as a work of God. You can help, too. Click here for details.