Churches bringing Christ’s love to Syrian refugees

By November 14, 2012

Syria (MNN) — More than 2.5 million people in Syria can't go home because of violent, ongoing fighting, a United Nations refugee agency said yesterday.

"This is a very conservative estimate," said Melissa Fleming, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). "People are moving, really on the run, hiding. They are difficult to count and access."

More than 407,000 refugees have either registered or are awaiting registration in UNHCR refugee camps in the neighboring countries of Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, and Iraq, added Fleming. And don't forget about the flurry of activity in recent days.

Over the past week, more than 4,000 Syrians fled to Jordan–the highest outflow there in two months. Another 9,000 Syrians crossed into Turkey, and growing numbers of Kurdish nationals are fleeing to Iraq, now the home of 50,000 Syrian refugees.

What are Christians doing about it?

"We're really challenging the church to reach those refugees," says a ministry leader helped by Christian Aid Mission in the regions surrounding Syria. "Not just in providing aid materials, but that they would show God's love to those people."

Christian Aid helps indigenous ministries provide Syrian refugees with essentials like food, cooking units, blankets and shelter.

"Plus, we're providing milk for the children," adds the ministry worker. "That's one of the big needs because about 65% of the refugees there are children."

In addition to providing relief aid, believers make a point of spending one-on-one time with refugees. In Iraq, churches take turns on a regular basis inviting refugees to a church meeting followed by a meal. They also go daily to the refugee camps to clean, construct temporary housing, share the Gospel, and distribute food.

"They make sure that they speak with them, spend time, play with the kids," the worker says, "just that they will feel [that] somebody cares about them."

According to the ministry leader, refugees must go to the offices of other organizations who are giving aid, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, in order to receive help. That's something that sets their operations apart: ministries helped by Christian Aid make a point of being directly involved in refugees' lives.

He describes how this impacts refugees: "What we're hearing from them, the feedback is: 'We feel that you're giving us from all over your heart, with love, with care."

Their actions and regular demonstration of compassion is also changing what many refugees thought about Christ-followers.

"Some of them, or maybe most of them, had the wrong idea about Christ and about Christianity," the worker explains. Refugees can now see Christ's love expressed through Christian workers.

"We praise God we have this opportunity to reach them, not just with the aid but spiritually," he says.

Pray for protection over Christian workers who are helping refugees. Ask God to give them wisdom.

"In some areas… it's dangerous just to be with the refugees," the worker explains. "With your prayers, we can still be alive and do God's work, and we can make the Great Commission a daily commitment."

You can support ministry workers in one volatile region by clicking here.

5 Comments

  • John Neufeld says:

    Hi,
    My name is John Neufeld, I live in Texas. I’m interested in helping with the Syrian refugees.
    Can you give me any info on what I could do?
    Thanks.

  • Greg Yoder says:

    John:

    Thanks for your willingness to help. There are several groups supporting refugees.
    Christian Aid Mission-http://www.christianaid.org/Projects/2012/201210-444SHM.aspx
    E3 Partners – e3parnters.org

    Or, do a search for Syria on our website and you’ll see more stories that interest you.

  • Jesse Hawk says:

    Hi, my name is Jesse Hawk and i’m in my senior year of high school. I’ve been watching the recent news clips about the Syrian refugees and I was wanting to know if there is any mission trips I could be apart of?

    Sincerely,
    Jesse Hawk

  • Kim Kelly says:

    Hi,
    My name is Kim. Im a Sophomore in High School. I’m very interested in the work being done by missionaries to help Syrian refugees and to share hope with them. I want to get involved and be a part of it. Are there any opportunities for short term mission trips that would also be avaliable to High Schoolers?
    Sincerly,
    Kim Kelly

  • Katey Hearth says:

    Greetings Jesse,

    Thank you for your interest/heart for short-term missions/willingness to serve! Most of our ministry partners are seeking financial support for refugee projects, as their contacts “on-the-ground” are the ones actually interacting with refugees in-need.

    However, by contacting the groups listed here — https://www.mnnonline.org/middle-east-refugee-crisis-how-you-can-help/ — there may be opportunities to “go” that we simply aren’t aware of.

    If you find any, would you mind letting us know so we can add them to the page above? Thank you again Jesse and best of luck!

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