At the end of last year, Open Doors had a brief opportunity to enter Aleppo, Syria. We met with a 22 year old Christian living in the city, Badr*. Living inside a warzone, Badr told us what life is like and how he is seeing God at work amidst the horrors of war.
“The people need us,” is the defiant answer he gives when asked why he had not fled like so many others. “We help the people with food, but we also comfort them, listen to their stories. It is so important that someone listens.”
In Aleppo, combat zones between government troops and opposition forces are changing daily. They are marked only by street signs and soldiers. He is one of the few young Syrian Christians who decided to stay in the city, despite the situation.
Since the war started, over 250,000 people have been killed. Recently Badr’s brother was called up for compulsory military service. He is now in hiding, unwilling to be thrown out onto the frontline.
Badr shared the story of a young man from his church. “New recruits get little training and are sometimes within days sent to fight. They often are the first victims that fall in the fighting. Not long ago a young guy who just had converted to be a Christian in our church was called to the army. He went (and) a week later he was dead. He carried his Bible with him. The army returned his Bible to his parents, (who) both became Christians. His death at least served for this.”
Another story Badr shared was that of a family with a daughter and her fiancee engaged to be married. They were in the midst of preparing for the wedding. “The young man had to go to the army too. He was killed shortly after he started serving. Imagine the grief in the heart of his fiancée.”
“I visited a mother. She had lost in one day her husband and her six children because of a rocket in their home. What can one say? I could listen to her story. She expressed that life hadn’t any value to her anymore.” Badr looked away, overcome with emotion. “It was good to visit her and be there with her.”
Kefas*, Badr’s friend told us how their church is serving the community. “Our church is helping some 1700 families. It is hard work. Our church saw some 60% of the members leave the country. Many fled to Lebanon, others to countries in the West.”
Syria is full of stories like these. Many members of the church go and visit families, providing comfort and encouragement. Through local churches across Syria, Open Doors is supporting around 9000 families each month. Families can receive food or hygiene packs, living expenses, medicine and cold weather packs.
These stories show how God is working and bringing hope, even through pain and horror. The violence and destruction in Syria is extreme, please consider giving to Open Doors work in the region.
- Praise God for the work of Christians like Badr, willing to stay and serve the church in whatever way they can.
- Pray for Badr and his church as it will take daily renewal from God to have the strength to continue loving like this.
- Pray for an end to the conflict in Syria, what is impossible for us is possible for God.
Please consider giving to the ministry of Open Doors as we serve the church in Syria and around the world.
*Name changed for security purposes.