Church cares for 1,000 Syrian refugees, expects 1,000 more

By May 1, 2012

Syria (MNN) — Two car bombs killed nine people and injured 100 more yesterday in Syria's most recent bout of extreme violence.

People have been fleeing from Syria for over a year as unrest has intensified, and these explosions will only increase that number. In just two days last week, 500 Syrians fled into neighboring Jordan, reports AFP.

But the overwhelmingly Muslim refugees who come to northern Jordan have found an unexpected local friend: Nour, a Christian pastor who leads an evangelical church in the border town.

"This is our call, to reach out," Nour told the Southern Baptist International Mission Board. "Our door is open to Christians or Muslims anytime."

Nour has become a one-man clearinghouse for aiding Syrian refugee families, IMB reports. He helps them find places to live since so far, there are no official refugee camps in the area. He and his church members deliver food, blankets, mattresses, medicine and other basic supplies. He coordinates assistance from a variety of other churches and Christian groups in and beyond Jordan, including Baptists. He cooperates with the local Islamic aid society, which refers many refugees to his church.

"We never turn off our mobile phones. Always we are ready to receive their phone calls," says Nour. "Always I tell them this: ‘I am here to serve you.'"

Nour and his church have been serving refugees since the Gulf War 20 years ago. So when the Syrian conflict began to heat up, he knew the initial trickle of refugees flowing into Jordan would become a flood. The church, which started out helping about 30 refugee families, now coordinates regular assistance to more than 270 families–at least 1,000 people. Nour estimates more than 1,000 refugee families live in the area, with many more on the way if conditions in Syria don't improve soon.

But the church already has reached its capacity. "The need is more than we can handle in terms of money, time and management," Nour admits. "The situation is getting worse and worse. If we have another 1,000 families come … and it will happen, because every day we see more of them [coming], maybe 10, 20 families every day. It's a big issue."

The church needs more assistance, but is grateful for what they have been able to do, especially in the name of Christ.
"The Syrians are seeing us as one unit – the church. For them, ‘The Christians are helping.' The main thing is the love. We cannot do it without love."

The Southern Baptist Global Response is providing supporting churches like Nour's to provide for Syrian refugees. They are in dire need of funds. To help, click here.

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