Syria (MNN) — Airstrikes began pummeling the Syrian city of Aleppo yesterday after an uneasy several weeks’ pause since mid-October. Warplanes started dropping bombs again in eastern Aleppo where rebels are holed up.
Several citizens inside Aleppo received mass text messages from the government warning them to get out of the city. NPR reports that the U.N has given out its last rations in the city, and civilians have started raiding warehouses in an anxious search for food.
“One pastor told us that months ago in Damascus, 92 bombs were detonated in just one day. You can’t imagine what it’s like being there. At times, they feel somewhat down because it’s overwhelming, the evil that’s all around them.”
However, there is something you can do to be a force of encouragement and strength. You can write a letter.
E3 Partners has started an online letter writing campaign to Syrian pastors who are staying behind to help their neighbors, love the hurting, and share the hope of the Gospel. Click here to go to the letter form!
The ministry will be accepting letters to Syrian pastors up until Christmas Day, but really the sooner you can get your letters in, the better. They have a team of translators waiting to translate each letter into Arabic. Afterwards, your letters will be hand-delivered to Syrian pastors who are in desperate need of encouragement from the worldwide Body of Christ.
Not sure of what to say? Doyle encourages letter-writers, “Think about what it would be like to serve Jesus there knowing you could suffer or die. [Write] just some encouragement, a verse, a passage, tell them what you’re praying for them and their family. If we could just remember it’s not only them. They have wives and children, some of them young children.”
E3 Partners did a similar letter writing campaign last year, but for the widows of the 21 Egyptian believers who were martyred on the beaches of Libya. They expected to get maybe a few hundred letters.
“We announced we were going to write some letters, share a Bible verse, an encouragement and just sign your name. We shared this on Mission Network News and few other programs and we were flooded with letters. Over 2,000 letters came in! We hand delivered them to the martyrs wives, and it was so touching to just see they were so blessed by that,” says Doyle
“We thought about this year and thought, ‘What can we do?’ There probably couldn’t be a group that is more ‘standing in the fire’ like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the Old Testament than leaders in Syria who are staying and making a difference, pastors who are pastoring flocks, reaching people for Christ in the middle of the Islamic State fighting the government of Syria.”
Ultimately, Doyle shares, “We just wanted to encourage them. We just wanted to bless them and know the Body of Christ stands with them, that we’re honored to know them and blessed to be part of the Body of Christ where leaders like that are willing to stand for Jesus, willing to suffer and die for Him.”
Once you’ve finished writing your letter to a Syrian pastor, please pray. Pray that the person who gets your letter would feel renewed knowing they are not alone, that God is with them and that He is using their Christian brothers and sisters to urge them on in ministry.
Please pray also for those who have fled Syria and find themselves alone and scared in foreign countries. Pray they would come to know the God of the Bible and trust in His promises.
“Syrian refugees today, whether they’re in Europe or America or in the Middle East countries, it’s so sad for them. Because of terrorism, because of things that have happened, because of ethnic hostilities, they have become a despised people. We see in many ways they kind of resemble something out of the New Testament, as people just looked down on the lepers. But Jesus’ heart went out to them. He healed ten lepers. So we really want to make sure people realize Syrian pastors are dealing with a difficult group that feels dejected, has nothing, and it’s a very tenuous situation at best.”
Doyle reflects, “We’re just thankful for every listener who will take the time to lift up their brother and sister who’s in leadership in Syria. They are persecuted. Their lives could be over tomorrow. But they’re not leaving, they are steadfast, they trust the Lord, and they know it’s Jesus keeping them alive in the midst of the fire as they stand with Him.”
If you’d like to learn more about the stories of Christians in volatile countries, check out Tom Doyle’s new book coming out Easter Week called Standing in the Fire: Courageous Christians Living in Frightening Times.