Syria (MNN) — Encouraging updates from believers in Syria contrast the latest grim headlines. First, the “good” news: churches are starting to recover. Through Redemptive Stories, Samuel* works closely with Syrian believers.
“We are seeing churches doing some rebuilding projects; there are new buildings [being constructed] in communities that have seen peace arrive. That has been a great sign of hope for many of the churches [and] Christians that live there,” Samuel says.
“They want to begin the process of restoring and renewing everything that has been broken over the past ten years of war.”
The “bad” news? Significant challenges remain. The latest UN report describes COVID-19 spikes and an escalating food crisis. Plus, “the situation in Lebanon has only made it worse,” Samuel adds.
“Lebanon has been the funnel for many of Syria’s sources of outside aid and different things. With the port [impacted] by the explosion, not only is that creating food insecurity issues for Lebanon, but it also affects Syria.”
Remember Syria’s Church
Speaking before the UN Security Council on Thursday, Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Ramesh Rajasingham delivered this update regarding Syria. All signs point to “widespread” community transmission of COVID-19, placing an overwhelming burden on Syria’s fragile infrastructure.
“They don’t have the significant testing capability as a country,” Samuel says. Patients with possible COVID-19 infections are turned away at the door and urged to self-quarantine at home.
“[Hospitals] don’t have the facilities or the capabilities to care for [COVID-19 patients]. They don’t have respirators; they don’t have any other medications that would be anywhere near helpful with the issue of COVID.”
Food insecurity is rising, too, Rajasingham reports:
Food prices are still rising … current food prices are more than twice the level of the previous price surge at the height of the crisis in 2016.
“In the midst of what is now even a deeper crisis, with COVID cases increasing within Syria, we need to continue doing our best to stand with them,” Samuel says.
“We can’t forget what’s happening in Syria, and we need to stand with the Church there. So many wonderful pastors and leaders are faithfully working [and] communicating the Gospel. [They are] seeing things happen in unique and powerful ways that haven’t happened ever before within Syria.”
“So many Christians leave because the opportunity is there for them to go to the West. As they leave, it leaves a hole for the proclamation of who Christ is. By investing in Syria and the Church, in particular, we continue to keep that lighthouse there so that all can see,” Samuel says.
“It’s so important for us to invest in them so that light of the Gospel won’t leave.”
*–Name changed for security purposes.
Header image courtesy of Open Doors USA.