*Raya is a refugee from Syria. She is a single mother, and has three daughters. Her husband left her, so she raises their girls on her own.

As a cross-cultural worker in the Middle East, *Genesis has had many opportunities to witness how God is working in families and children, especially refugees like Raya and her daughters.

Through the local Nazarene church, Genesis and others visit Raya and many other families experiencing loss, trauma and physical hardship as a result of fleeing violent conflict in their home countries and regions.

Genesis recently shared about Raya*:

Stories like Raya’s are very common among the people we visit and build relationships with. Many women are left alone, divorced or find themselves in a forced, arranged marriage. However, the difference in Raya’s story is that something happened within her.

We believe the Holy Spirit is working in her. The first times that members of the church visited her, they said that she was not doing well. She was afraid to go outside or even to let her daughters leave the house. She saw no future, no purpose for their family.

Filled with compassion for Raya and her daughters, the church members started to take action, journeying with her. Some people stepped in and helped her find a place to stay. Church members gave her furniture, a refrigerator, food, clothes and met other needs. Even though Raya didn’t see a future at first, God is a God of new beginnings. He gives us new life in Jesus. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10, NIV).

Raya started noticing that something changed in her. One day, talking to one of the leaders she started to laugh and said, “Something is different, I see it, too.”

She started to clean the house, to play with her daughters, to let them go outside, and many other things she wasn’t doing before. Raya sees a future now and has begun to dream: She wants to start her own business. She is starting slow to reach for this, but believes God will open great doors.

Raya works many hours to make crafts that she can sell in the market or bazaar. The church also helped her by subsidizing some of her business expenses. Having this job will also give her time with her daughters. She wants to give them a different life.

Raya is also enrolling in a discipleship course at the church! God is at work! Please pray for her and her three daughters.

*Names and location changed for security reasons

This article was previously published in the February 2020 edition of Where Worlds Meet.