Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? – Romans 8:35 NIV
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28 NASB
As the Syrian government’s military and the opposition forces have sliced and diced the country into areas they control, millions of civilians have been caught in the crossfire. It has been a time of severe hardship and turmoil for believers and nonbelievers alike.
The members of the Nazarene church in Damascus awaken every day to death and danger. While no one from the church has been killed, they are afraid. The neighborhood where the pastor lives, and where the Nazarene school is located, has been shelled multiple times.
But they cling ever more strongly to peace in Jesus Christ. And they are reaching out to people in need, regardless of their religious background. The church has registered 2,500 families, of which only 100 are associated with the church.
Every month the church tries to give each family on their list a package of food (and sometimes blankets, mattresses, and medicines according to need). The families attend a gathering with an inspirational message. The families are now in different groups, and the church conducts 12 gatherings each week in order to distribute aid.
The church also hosts a medical clinic which is open three times per week, seeing an average of 50 people every week.
The Nazarene school in Damascus managed to enroll 193 students in spite of the constant uncertainty and violence plaguing the community. This is only about 40 fewer than their normal enrollment. But due to the economic instability at the moment, most families cannot pay the tuition for their children. So Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (NCM) has provided a grant, along with NCM scholarships, to help the students attend the school.
A new student named Elia joined the third grade. He cried in class almost every day for the first few weeks because he is afraid when he leaves his parents in the morning that he will never see them again. The teacher began to tell Elia how he could put his trust in Jesus and pray for protection. It took some time, but with the help of his teachers and the encouragement he gets from the chapel services, Elia can now get through the day without fear crippling his ability to study and play with his new friends. He is learning how to trust in God during fearful times, and that is making a big difference in his life.
In Aleppo, the Nazarene church continues its gatherings even when there are electricity outages. They are helping about 15 of their families with food staples and soap. They also used money from their tithes to fund one man’s surgery to remove a tumor.
Please pray that during this time of uncertainty and pain, that God will continue to bring great good and work His will among the people of Syria. Ask for courage, perseverance and resourcefulness for our brothers and sisters. Pray that God will provide for all their critical needs, and that they can continue to multiply what they have to help others.