Refugees flood Lebanon after Syria’s surge of violence

By March 13, 2018

Lebanon (MNN) — A living hell—this is the current situation in Syria. New bombs are being dropped. The rebels now have an underground tunnel network they’re using for attacks.

And the Syrian people? The hopes these refugees and displaced persons living in Lebanon had for returning home this spring or summer have been crushed. Instead, more Syrians are escaping the surge of violence by traveling over the unsecured mountain border and entering Lebanon illegally. Others are dying in their attempts to flee.

An Unfair War

“This is not a fair war; this is not fair for the civilians. It’s not just bombings in specific places because they’re underground,” Triumphant Mercy’s Nuna shares. “It’s not a military war [where] you have an army coming in and fighting one-on-one or anything.”

Triumphant Mercy works both in Lebanon and just over the border in Jaramana, Syria, outside of Damascus. Nuna says the people in Jaramana are in shelters because of the bombs in Damascus and its suburbs.

(Photo courtesy Triumphant Mercy)

“[Our team] discovered a whole new camp of people who just came in illegally into Lebanon. And they’re living in, I can’t even say a tent, it’s just a plastic cover,” Nuna explains. “It’s still cold, it’s still raining, so this is how desperate they are to just get out of hell.”

It’s hard to have a reference of how many refugees have come over in this new wave. Since people are entering Lebanon illegally, there is no official headcount.

“I can’t imagine the desperation of people to just take their little children, go over the mountain when it’s freezing cold, and die of cold. Nobody shot them, nobody did anything, they didn’t slip and fall. They just died of cold. That is such a desperation.”

The refugees whom the cold hasn’t killed need food, clothes, and shelter. But, Triumphant Mercy is already working at its capacity. And honestly, it’s hard for the ministry to know what to do to help because there is just too much need.

Refugees: Great A Need

In fact, Triumphant was looking at downsizing, not growing, when this unexpected and sudden wave of refugees flooded the border. This need has the ministry in constant search of God’s guidance on what to do with its resources to help.

And the one thing which continues to surface, regardless of tangible resources, is being present in Christ’s name and character and offering hope. As Nuna says, hope is the future. When refugees come, they’re living in despair. Things feel like they can’t get better. But, hope gives them something to look forward to and it conquers the despair.

Parents get to watch their children be educated by Triumphant Mercy and have hope for their kids’ futures. When women attend Triumphant Mercy’s literacy program, they get to look forward to the time they spend learning with others.

An example of refugee camps in Lebanon during winter.
(Photo Courtesy of UNHCR Photo Unit / January 2015 via Flickr)

“So when we go and tell people that God can do something about it, we just pray and we see what God has to do. This is the hope. So, we can bring hope with nothing. Even if we don’t bring anything physical, we can with our words, with our prayer, with our just being there next to them. And I tell them, just me being there with you, shows you that God cares.”

Given the history and pains between Syria and Lebanon, the fact that a Lebanese ministry is trying to help meet the needs of Syrian refugees stops people in their tracks. It’s an act which helps break the cycle of an “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.” And it tangibly shows Christ’s love and life transformation.

How to Help

So please, will you help? Start by praying for guidance, for the believers working on the field, and for the refugees. Pray for Lebanon because the country is on the brink of war. All the international pressure, the fighting in Syria, and the new wave of refugees continues to build and at some point, it’s going to be too much.

Pray for Triumphant Mercy’s work both in Lebanon and in Syria. Ask God to give the ministry wisdom in how to move and where to move. And pray that despite the terror and trauma these refugees have faced, that they would encounter Christ in undeniable ways and experience healing.

“The need is so great that I know that we cannot, nobody can, cater to all the needs. But, I can do something, whatever it is, I can do something. Even if it’s a small seed, even if it’s more prayer,” Nuna says.

The people still have physical needs like food, blankets, and mattresses. Right now, they have next to nothing. So please, will you donate to Triumphant Mercy’s “Basic Needs” fund?

Click here for ways to donate!

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