Jordan (MNN) — The violence continues in Syria, and now a border situation is causing a refugee crisis.
Bill Bray with
Christian Aid Mission says, "Early in the week the Turks closed their border, and it's created a lot of panic. The fighting on the ground is horrific. A lot of these [refugees] are widows and children. This is a real crisis."
Jordanian native missionary leaders say they are being overwhelmed by a new surge of terrified Syrian refugees. "They are coming under the fences every night–2,500 to 3,000 at a time since the border with Turkey closed two days ago," says an indigenous leader of one of the main mission groups who asked not to be identified for security reasons.
"There are already 180,000 refugees here from Syria, and they are growing every day. This is a very, very intense time for us." The Christians are responding as good Samaritans to the desperate refugees, helping them find food and shelter. Most are women and children.
The indigenous leaders asked Christian Aid Mission and others in the USA to help send more immediate financial aid so that food, medicine, and clothing can be purchased on the local market for free distribution to the refugees.
"The refugees are only dressed in light, summer wear and have nothing but the clothes on their backs," he said. "They don't want to enter government camps where there is food and water shortages. Instead, they are coming to us for food and clothing."
Winter is coming, he added, and at least $150,000 will be needed now to keep food parcels going out, supply blankets and winter clothing.
Like all the other front line states, Jordan has officially closed its borders to Syrian refugees and is trying to resist pressure by Sunni Jihadists from nearby Saudi and Qatar. The Islamic Jihad wants to divide up Syrian territory under various militias in order to help bring down the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, an Alawite Muslim who is accused of many atrocities but has protected the Christian minority.
A special fund has been set up by Christian Aid coded 400REF to aid the Syrian Christians during this time of crisis. Offerings for the suffering believers of Syria are being collected by phone at 800-977-5650 or at the Christian Aid Mission Web site: www.ChristianAid.or.
"We want to thank you Americans from the bottom of our hearts," said the Jordanian native missionary. "Your prayer and support is helping us befriend, love, and supply aid to these people. Discipleship requires an investment of time, resources, and courage, which we trust the Lord to provide to us."
Bray says, "The biggest thing they need right now is cash immediately to purchase food, medicines, and warm clothing."
A nearby pastor said, "I feel like finally, for the first time, we are doing outreach successfully."
Among the biggest needs they face:
• $70 each to sponsor the education of one child
• $45 each to supply medications for a refugee family
• $12 each for Arabic Bibles
• $55 each for food packets
• $180 per share of rent if a family shares an apartment with several other familie
All the Syrian refugees told Christian Aid Mission reporters that they fled Syria after family members were killed. "We lost it all in Syria," said one woman. "I feared for my children, but here in Jordan they can play without being shot! I worry for my family that didn't make it out. I lost friends and loved ones. I've lost all hope."
Just crossing the border can be deadly. "We waited until nightfall, climbed through a barbed-wire fence under heavy gunfire with our husbands and kids. Our husbands didn't make it across."
Another said she came because "I couldn't sleep at night as I watched over my kids thinking this is our last night."
Bray says workers supported by Christian Aid Mission are using this for the Gospel sake. "In the midst of it, they're doing a lot of child evangelism and children's classes. This provides a lot of context in which to do a lot of Christian outreach."
Christian Aid Mission has been supporting indigenous missions in Syria and the front line states of Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, and Turkey for decades. "We already had an indigenous network in place before the fighting began," said a Christian Aid Mission spokesperson in Charlottesville, Virginia. "We are able to get help to the field quickly."