Syria (MNN) — With violence escalating and utter hopelessness meandering across Syria, two ministries are partnering together to reach out to those devastated in a country retching from civil war. To date, more than 37,000 people have been killed, perhaps millions have been displaced, and still others have nowhere to go — so they're just waiting it out.
Josh McDowell, founder of Josh McDowell Ministry, just visited the region. MNN caught up to him in Israel after he met with Syrian Christians. He describes the destruction. "It's probably the worst destruction I've ever seen in my entire life. Just whole rows of houses, buildings, cities just totally destroyed."
After seeing it, McDowell told MNN's Greg Yoder, "As a father, as a grandfather, I have to do something."
So McDowell is teaming up with Global Aid Network, or GAIN USA, to start the Give4Hope campaign. It's an effort to provide food and hope for 5,000 families. "These would be families within Syria. We have the whole network set up where we can deliver the food to the families. You see, one of the problems there is that most of them are absolutely fearful of even going outside."
Mothers are taking unbelievable care for their children. McDowell says, "They'd cover their own children with their bodies to protect them because bombs were going off all around them. And when I said to them, 'What is your greatest need?' they said, 'It's for food. We don't know how we're going to feed our children tomorrow.'"
Finding partners inside Syria has been difficult, says McDowell. "Many of the Christians have had to get out of the country because they fear the knock at the door: either the rebels or the government come to take their sons and their daughters. And what they do? If you're a Christian, they put you on the front lines of any battle and you're almost certainly killed."
Miraculously, a remnant group of Christians remain. "We have a network set up within the country where for $40 dollars we can deliver food to a family of five for an entire month," McDowell says.
This isn't easy work. McDowell adds, "When they kiss their wives and their kids goodbye in the morning, they do not know if they will ever see their family again. And yet, they're willing to risk it, mainly for their love for Christ and the lost."
McDowell says they will deliver more than just food. "We will [give them] the JESUS video, More Than a Carpenter book, and the new movie called, Undaunted. They stay fearfully in their homes, and so they will watch the videos over and over and over again."
Most Americans have no idea what it's like to live in Syria today. Even Hurricane Sandy victims are fortunate because they have the Red Cross, FEMA, and humanitarian groups. Not in Syria.
Some aid groups are cautious about getting involved in this conflict for fear of taking sides. McDowell says, "You don't have to take sides to feed the hungry. And that's what we're doing. We're feeding the hungry in the name of Christ."
If you'd like to encourage a Syrian family all year long with food and the Gospel, join the Give4Hope campaign. $40 a month will help a family of five all year long. Click here to help. (Please note: this web site will be going live on 11/16, but because the timing is uncertain, please check back often if you receive a URL "not found" message.)