Syria (CAM) — Syria's conflict is expected to dominate the discussion as some 120 world leaders converge on New York for the week-long United Nations General Debate.
Government forces are bombing the city of Aleppo even as talks get underway. Meanwhile, there's word from the military that more than 2,000 Syrian soldiers have defected to Jordan since fighting began last year. The number of refugees who have entered Jordan through unofficial border crossings has reached more than 74,000 Syrians.
Christian Aid Mission expects that the refugees will greatly increase in the next few months.
The U.N Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has reported that 100,000 refugees have fled Syria in the month of August, raising the estimated total number of Syrian refugees to 234–368 as of September 2nd. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees have raised their total death toll to between 23,000 and 26,000.
The impact of Syrian refugees has been felt by indigenous mission groups in surrounding countries. In Lebanon, one such ministry has seen thousands of Syrian refugees either settle into public schools temporarily or move in with Lebanese relatives. The school year is scheduled to start in September, and no one knows what will happen.
An Indigenous mission group in Lebanon is attempting to find a way to educate the children of Syrian refugees in its private school. The children would receive a solid education which includes biblical teachings. Currently there is only enough space for 180 refugee kids.
One indigenous mission group supported by Christian Aid donors has been able to provide food for several refugee families in Lebanon. A missionary working with the families says, "The families live with relatives, and they feel they are adding an extra burden on them. They are trying to find places of their own but there is not much available for their budgets. So whatever help they receive is being very much appreciated. Thank you."
In Jordan, several churches, Christian organizations, and individual volunteers are coordinating their efforts to reach out to the refugees. These volunteer groups are providing basic materials to help refugee families who have lost everything. Jordanian Christian organizations are coordinating weekly visits to Syrian refugee families where they build friendship and share the Good News. In addition, the Syrian refugees are invited to attend local churches for special events.
Indigenous groups are providing as much material aid as they can but believe that sharing the Word of God with these refugees is the best thing to give, especially when people need help.
Pray that the outreach of indigenous missionaries bear fruit among the Syrian refugees. Pray that thousands of Syrian refugees will find new opportunities in the surrounding countries. Pray that schools run by indigenous ministry groups will be able to open and provide education to the children.