Is it repatriation or is it a mission field?

By June 24, 2024
Syrian Refugees

Lebanon (MNN) — Syrian refugees in Lebanon seem to be caught in a chess game where checkmate looms in multiple directions. Their homes in Syria are largely unlivable; their host country struggles under their sheer numbers; and officials from European Union nations continue to wade toward best policies for the ongoing crisis. 

Pierre Houssney with Horizons International says that in Lebanon there is mounting pressure toward forced repatriation as a solution.

“It’s like this stick. We’re threatening [Syrians] with a stick and making life more miserable for refugees here in Lebanon, with hopes that things will get miserable enough that they will find it less miserable in Syria,” Houssney explains. 

Throughout Lebanon, Horizons staff members meet with people in their homes to share the Gospel and pray together.
(Photo, caption courtesy of Horizons International)

“Well, that’s a whole lot of misery, and that’s really not a good solution.” 

In the midst of these challenges for the Syrian people they love and serve, Horizons sees a new gospel opportunity. Houssney explains that they are making plans for a different approach to repatriation.

“Because of the recent climate in Lebanon, we’ve been thinking about and working on plans to work with evangelical churches that we already partner with in Syria. [This would mean] trying to re-place believing refugees who have come to Christ here in Lebanon, [sending] them almost as missionaries back into Syria,” says Houssney. 

The ministry partners with evangelical churches in northern Syria, with whom they have labored to assess and renovate homes damaged in the 2023 earthquakes. That network would be the framework through which Horizons would not only send believers but also also “support them, and help them to get plugged into church communities, so that we can actually start reviving the Syrian society,” Houssney says. 

No path will be easy. Houssney says ongoing conflict zones, the threat of army conscription and even of blacklisting by the Syrian government are grim realities for Syrians. 

Pray for wisdom and courage for these believers and for this network of churches. Pray for God to build up His Church and bring stability. 

For firsthand accounts of the ministry with Horizons, consider joining one of the video calls they host.

We call them digital roundtables, where people are literally just able to ask open questions to the people that are on the field here in Lebanon,” says Houssney. 

Click here to check out recent roundtables. Sign up for Horizons newsletters to keep informed about upcoming roundtable calls.




Header photo of refugees living in an abandoned factory near Saida, Lebanon courtesy of Anthony Gale via Flickr.

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