Syria (MNN) — Syria’s top diplomat encourages refugees to come home, while experts and aid groups advise the opposite. United Nations Commissioner Karen Koning AbuZayd warned earlier this week, “The war on Syrian civilians continues.”
According to Amnesty International, Syrian refugees who returned home faced torture at the hands of security forces. One former refugee said a Syrian official told him, “You’re a terrorist … Syria is not a hotel that you leave and return to when you want.”
Nearly six million Syrian refugees remain in neighboring countries, making this the world’s largest refugee crisis. Nonetheless, hope remains. “We’ve been able to send two couples back into Syria,” Heart for Lebanon’s Tom Atema says.
The Syrian couples fled to Lebanon years ago as refugees. They met Lebanese believers through Heart for Lebanon’s access ministry.
“These two couples [are] the first official two couples that have been through our whole program; starting with food packages, all the way through Bible studies,” Atema says.
“Now they’re reaching Syria with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Although Syria is an Islamic nation, “many Muslims have come to Christ as Christians have reached out with acts of compassion and practical assistance,” The Voice of the Martyrs USA reports. Like the couples trained by Heart for Lebanon, Christian refugees who return to Syria often find unique Gospel opportunities.
“One of the couples [has] led two people to the Lord already. They’ve started a house church, and they’re helping people in the community rebuild and do what they need to do to sustain life,” Atema says.
Learn more about Heart for Lebanon’s approach here and how you can be part of the process. Pray efforts to share the Gospel in Syria will be successful.
Header image depicts Muslim-background believers at a church service in Lebanon. Heart for Lebanon reaches Syrian refugees in Lebanon with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Photo courtesy of Heart for Lebanon)