Middle East (MNN) — Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Egypt. These are just a few of the countries infiltrated by the Islamic State through acts of terror. And it doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon.
Out of Syria’s 22 million citizens, 3.8 million have fled the country, while 7.8 million are internally displaced. Nearly half of the country is homeless, and over 450,000 Christians have lost their homes.
But while there may seem to be no hope in sight for the Middle East, God is still working.
Through the work of E3 Partners, many are finding temporary relief and a lasting peace. A group of gospel workers with E3 recently returned from Middle East, bringing humanitarian assistance and the hope of Christ to Syrian refugees.
Though violence has stolen refugees’ hope and hardened their hearts, many find joy from even the slightest act love.
“As dramatic as the statement might sound, the acts of atrocity are actually drawing people toward Jesus,” says E3’s Alexsa MacDowalls. “So we’ve actually seen a lot of wonderful things just taking place.
“When you’re with the people,…you see the smiles on their faces and you see the tears that run down their cheeks. You could be giving their kids a sucker, or you could be giving them access to a new surgery….The excitement and the joy that they have, just that one person, it’s amazing.”
The team’s first task was meeting physical needs, which was done by distributing food, water, and blankets, as well as building showers. E3 also takes medical teams into communities trying to rebuild and offers free clinics.
But after relieving the more immediate struggles, the workers focused on a more important task.
“Once we work through the physical, then we’re able to share about the love and the grace of Jesus, and the forgiveness of Jesus, and most importantly, the hope and the peace that only He can bring, especially in this situation when there’s no peace,” MacDowall says.”
Religion plays a major role in the conflict, as different branches of Islam have a long history of hostility. But many refugees are finding common ground in Christ.
“Some of our team members met this husband and wife: one of them was [Sunni], and one of them was Alawite. [These] are two people groups that are within Syria, and they’re known to be enemies,” MacDowall says. “As we were talking with them, they had shared that they were believers, and they had been believers for a few years now, and they actually met each other at a refugee camp. They came to know Christ, and they ended up getting married.”
This story is proof that despite the atrocities occurring in the Middle East, God is still working. No soul is too hardened or downcast for God to reach.
Can you help E3 bring God’s love to Syrian refugees? There are multiple ways you can do so. Pray for safety for those in the Middle East–both Christians and Muslims, and that Muslims would come to Christ. Pray that God would soften the hearts of terrorists, and that the conflict would be resolved.
Visit 8thirty8, a Facebook page by E3, for updates from the field. You can join E3 gospel workers in prayer for persecuted believers throughout the world by setting your alarm for 8:38 p.m. and reading Romans 8:38-39.