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Refugee flood into Lebanon now could mean church boom in Syria later

By July 27, 2012

Syria (MNN) — Fighting has not stopped in Aleppo, Syria for a week.

The latest reports have included sightings of fighter jet attacks, shelling, and other assaults from both the rebels and the Bashar al-Assad regime. Speculation has been made about Assad stepping down. The whole picture isn't pretty.

"The situation in Syria–if you're just watching it on the news–has really deteriorated rapidly in the last few weeks and days," says TouchGlobal Crisis Response director Mark Lewis. "So the plight of people that have fled the country and the number of people that have fled the country is increasing."

But where can they go? AFP reports that Israel ramped up its security along its ceasefire line with Syria yesterday. The Israeli army "fears that refugees from the Syrian side could cross it," an Israeli source told AFP.

Refugees have few options regarding where to turn, and Lebanon is still turning up as one of the most likely places for them to flee.

To say that churches and aid groups in Lebanon are overwhelmed is an understatement. But amazingly, that has not stopped them from not only helping, but seeing the bigger picture.

An Evangelical Free Church in Lebanon has exceeded its capacity by helping refugees from Syria. Although the provision of food, blankets, and long-term shelter has been a strain, they know that God has provided this opportunity to bring Christ to people–maybe an entire people.

"If we can work with those folks, initially meeting some physical needs but building relationship in the process, our hope is that the Gospel would take root," notes Lewis. "Then as people would head back to their homes, there would be this sending out of the Gospel from the refugee camps back into the country, and that might stimulate a movement of the church in Syria as a result of this difficult situation."

The church recognizes that this is their chance to minister to a people that would have been extremely difficult to reach otherwise. The circumstances are terrible, but when things eventually settle down in Syria, the relationships built could make for church growth throughout Syria later on.

The church is excited about the work God is already doing among the refugees, but they have run out of resources to help them with the basics–a necessity not only in order to best help these refugees, but in order to start relationships as well. That's where TouchGlobal comes in.

"We've got a goal of raising about $50,000, focusing on providing packages of food for a family for a month. For about $50 or so, you can provide a significant amount of food that then can serve a family for that kind of time frame," says Lewis.

You can feed a family for a whole month with just $50 when you click here. Your prayers are also needed.

This church in Syria and those they are working with are a small and pressed group, but they make up a vibrant group of believers who desire to make Christ known. Pray for these workers to be courageous, and for God to open Syrian hearts as a result. Pray for a church movement to grow in Syria, starting in Lebanon.

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