Extremists threaten Syrian church giving aid

By August 5, 2013
A church in Damascus, Syria. (Photo courtesy of Jema Smith/Flickr)

A church in Damascus, Syria. (Photo courtesy of Jema Smith/Flickr)

Syria (MNN) — One of the churches in war-torn Syria has been targeted by extremists.

They threatened to attack the church because of its “missionary” activities.

Open Doors USA partners with this church to distribute food and miscellaneous supplies to Christians, Muslims and other Syrians in need.

Jerry Dykstra with Open Doors says, “We’ve heard many reports that the church members we work with have shared their relief kits with others, especially Muslims. We know that Muslims are always shocked that they would share those vital things to people who maybe previously persecuted them.”

Along with the food church members distribute to Muslims, they tell the people about the love of Jesus and offer them a New Testament if they ask. Many Muslims are interested in listening and some even ask for a New Testament. This hasn’t gone unnoticed with the extremists.

“Anytime they know that these things are getting out to Christians, they’re upset because they know the Christians will be sharing their items with Muslims. They don’t want that of course, not because they’re not concerned about Muslims, but they’re afraid [the Christians] will try to convert them to Christ,” says Dykstra.

The persecution isn’t always home-grown in Syria. Dykstra states, “Many of the Jihadi are coming from abroad to Syria to ‘fight for Islam’, and Christians are really considered

Syrian refugees in camps like these need relief. (Photo courtesy of Open Doors)

Syrian refugees in camps like these need relief. (Photo courtesy of Open Doors)

infidels in the eyes of the extremists. They’re a second class citizen.”

The need for relief is only growing. There are now 4.25 million displaced Syrian people, according to Dykstra. Around 100,000 have been killed in the civil war violence. Even when Christians manage to escape to Lebanon, they may be targeted in the camps.

“This seems like it’s been going on for a long time and obviously we need to see a light at the end of the tunnel here,” says Dykstra. “We need to pray that God will bring peace to this country and some kind of resolution.”

Pray that the Lord will protect the church and its members so relief supplies and the Gospel can go out to people in the area.

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