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Syria faces blow after blow, yet hope rises

By February 2, 2016

Syria (MNN) — ISIS claimed responsibility for a triple bombing near Damascus, which killed more than 70 and wounded over 100 on Sunday.

(Photo courtesy of Operation Mobilization via Facebook)

(Photo courtesy of Operation Mobilization via Facebook)

The attack was targeting a bus of Shiite fighters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 42 of the fighters had links with the Syrian government, the New York Times says.

A car bomb was first detonated near a bus stop. After people rushed in to help, two suicide bombs went off. The bus Shiite fighters had been on, cars, and a nearby apartment all suffered damages.

With the more than 70 victims in the attack, the country is grieving yet another loss. This is taking place just one day after representatives met in Geneva to discuss a possible cease-fire and political solution for the ongoing Syrian war, which has cost the lives of more than 250,000 people, according to the New York Magazine.

This is the first talk of peace for Syria in two years.

The past two years have seen the escalation of refugees and deaths.

Operation Mobilization (OM) missionaries *Joe and *Alisa serve in the Near East (OM field comprised of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq). They have witnessed firsthand how changes have taken place in Syria since the war began in 2011–some for the worse but others for the better.

“We [relocated] to our present location in 2010, and the following year the war [in Syria] started,” Joe tells OM.

The couple saw the difficulty in reaching Muslims with the local church before the war started. Many were reluctant and nonresponsive to hearing the Gospel.

But since the break of the war, families have scattered to different countries and rely on the help of OM and other ministries and organizations. God has used their vulnerability in this tough time to soften their hearts and hear what missionaries have to say.

(Photo courtesy of Operation Mobilization via Facebook)

(Photo courtesy of Operation Mobilization via Facebook)

“They come,” Alisa shares with OM, “in need, in tears, in sadness, and find release and peace as people pray for them. It is really a special time. Even better is the fact that many of the refugees themselves are now ministering to others, offering to share and pray with relatives and neighbors.”

Through local churches, Joe and Alisa’s ministry is reaching several countries, visiting believers, mentoring, encouraging, and developing new local leaders. One feat that stands out is their reach toward women.

“Pre-war, there was no way to reach women in the Kurdish villages in Syria,” Joe explains.

“When the Syrian Kurds arrived here as refugees, they were welcomed and loved by the churches and by our workers. Now we have ladies’ meetings where 50-70 Syrian Kurdish refugee women come together, often bringing their children. They listen to stories and teaching about Jesus, starting from the creation story, the fall of man, the sacrifice, and to the salvation through Jesus.”

You can see their full story and the healing they’re bringing at OM’s website here.

During the peace talks for Syria, pray that envoys will come to an agreeable conclusion that will end the war and bring unity. Pray for safety, hope, and the spread of the Gospel in the Near East. Also pray for healing for families and friends who lost someone in the recent attack.

* Names changed for security.

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