Middle East (CAM) — A refugee trying to recover from an injury to his skull sustained in war-torn Syria was in constant pain.
Fellow refugees who had received food and other aid from local missionaries believed that kind-hearted people were healers, so they called the leader of the native ministry, believing that he was so kind he had to have the power to heal.
“When we had gone to the camp the previous Friday, we saw that Joram* was suffering from pain,” the ministry leader said. “His wife explained that even the painkillers did not work, and he was saying that his whole body was in pain and was afraid that more of his skull would crack.”
The local missionary suggested maybe his body aches were signs of COVID-19, but Joram said he had no other symptoms.
“On my way there, I prayed to God to send His Holy Spirit and heal this person because I am nothing without God’s direction,” the ministry leader said. “And with all my heart I prayed for God to heal him.”
Joram was in agony as the leader began to pray for him, his intercession as warm and deep as his faith in God. After about three minutes of praying, he heard Joram suddenly start to cry and felt him hugging his leg – and saying the pain in his body had suddenly disappeared.
“While I tried to calm him down, I started crying, because God was so great, I could not control my feelings,” the leader said.
“Unfortunately, we do not meet with such miracles every day. After Joram calmed down, we told him that God’s love saved him from his pain and how much God cared for him. Joram said openly that he wanted to believe in our God, and I can’t tell you my surprise at that moment. He asked us to visit him later, and we said that we would come again.”
Reducing the Burden
While the pandemic has struck many people in the Middle East with physical suffering and economic paralysis, refugees from Syria and other areas of conflict have been hit especially hard.
Before the pandemic they might have survived on meager incomes from scarce jobs, but now they face greater unemployment even as inflation has risen by 30 percent, the ministry leader said.
“The situation that they were barely surviving has become much worse, but your support helps to reduce the burden on their backs,” he wrote to Christian Aid Mission. “They said that being with them in this difficult process meant a lot to them.”
Refugees who have experienced this care and concern are more open to the gospel, including Muslim extremists, he said.
“While our most recent aid has been very helpful to families in distress, it has softened even some Muslim extremists, making us want to continue in our service all the more, seeing that God is actively working within us.”
Workers at another ministry are also seeing Syrian refugees more open to hearing about Christ. Still receiving food, medicine, baby food, and other aid from local missionaries, 10 Syrian refugees who have committed to Christ have begun meeting as a sub-group for worship at the ministry’s church.
“Since we’ve been providing for them over many years now, we are seeing the fruit of this service,” the ministry leader said. “They’ve decided to begin a regular meeting time for themselves in our church.”
Free in Christ
New believers show their faith to be genuine and lasting also in the ministry’s outreach in prisons.
One inmate imprisoned for seven years phoned the ministry leader a few days after his release requesting prayer. He joined a study on the meaning of baptism and, in what he said was a miracle, later obtained a job as an electrician.
“Now we visit him every week as we complete the lessons in preparation for baptism and pray together,” the leader said. “He now has a good job, is back with his family and no longer needs our economic help for clothing and goods. He is growing into being a faithful servant of our Lord.”
He and other prisoners who have come to faith in Christ were on the ministry leader’s heart, as a friend recently told him the prisoners were becoming Christians only because local missionaries were providing them clothes, shoes, and other items.
“This close friend told me, ‘Afterwards, they will fall away,’” the leader said. “But I’ve noticed in a number of cases that what this friend said hasn’t happened. These prisoners have continued their walk with Jesus even after being released from prison. We’re very thankful for your help in providing for these hurting people as we see them move forward in life.”
*Name changed for security reasons
Header and story images courtesy of Christian Aid Mission.