Syria (MNN) — 13 million Syrian refugees have been displaced from their homes by violence and war. Nearly 6 million have fled the country altogether. Now, many countries where Syrians have sought asylum are forcing them to return. But according to Tom Doyle of Uncharted Ministries, Syria now is very different from the one these refugees called home.
Because many of their homes have been destroyed by the war, “many will be coming back to nothing,” Doyle says. “The country is still not stable, and there are major powers calling the shots there. So it’s still super dangerous.”
That’s not to say things are safe for refugees who are no longer in Syria. In particular, some children have lost their families and live on their own. Uncharted Ministries provides food, clothing, and other practical resources when they can, but these kids are still facing desperation.
For example, Doyle says Uncharted Ministries held a pajama drive for refugee kids. Many children only have one set of clothes that they live and sleep in, so pajamas were a comforting and practically essential gift. But during a meeting two years later, Uncharted Ministries workers realized that many of the kids were still wearing the same pajamas, now as their primary sets of clothes.
In short, “poverty is off the charts,” Doyle says.
And yet God can use even the smallest hands to build His kingdom. Jesus’s heart went out to the hopeless, Doyle says, and that’s something believers who work with refugees keep in mind.
“There are meetings happening across Syria where these young children are coming to faith in Christ,” Doyle says. “There are families that are watching over them now, churches that are helping them with whatever they need. The believers there see them as a force for good in the next generation of church leaders. They believe some of the church leaders will be these homeless kids that have come to faith in Christ.”
Already, refugee kids are having a positive spiritual impact on the people around them. Doyle tells the story of one boy who lived in an impoverished community. He started attending children’s ministry events hosted by Uncharted Ministries, and Christ’s joy followed him home. He was suddenly singing songs and happy in the face of despair. Confused and angry at what he didn’t understand, the boy’s father followed him and sat in on the children’s event.
“He was so pierced by the Scripture and by the joy of the children as they sang that he heard the message and gave his life to Christ there that night,” Doyle says. “In the midst of everything, Jesus’s heart goes out to all those who are in desperation.”
Pray for the spiritual well-being of desperate refugees who may be forced to return to Syria. Consider helping Uncharted Ministries meet both their practical and spiritual needs, especially as winter intensifies.