Aleppo – Pastor Alim* On The Frontline

Aleppo was Syria’s largest city before the civil war. Today East Aleppo is bombed almost daily by Syrian and Russian air forces; its west is frequently shelled by the rebels from the east. Only a small number of the more than 200,000 ‘pre-war’ Christians remain in the city: some church leaders say it’s only 20,000 to 40,000.  

Give Now To The Open Doors Syria Relief Appeal.

Pastor Alim (*name changed for security reasons) works in Aleppo. His congregation is helping up to 2,000 needy families each month – Muslims and Christians – through a team of motivated people.

“The situation in Aleppo has been unstable for a long time now. Ceasefires only last for a short time. As soon as the people catch breath, the fighting starts again.”

His city is divided; he is in the part controlled by the government. “People get really depressed; they feel there is no hope”

“Many women and children from the other part have come to our area. Our church is able to help a total of 2,000 families; I think half of them are Muslims.” Continue reading

5 Of The Biggest Moments From The Persecuted Church in 2016

This article was written by Mike Gore, CEO Open Doors Australia & New Zealand.

2016 was a massive year!

Each year I try to pause and reflect on the biggest events from the last 12 months. I want to remember the moments that shook my world, and the moments when I saw God at work the most. Here are five of the biggest stand out events from 2016.

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1. Christian Towns Liberated From Islamic State

I remember sitting with a pastor in Northern Iraq in May as bombs exploded in the distance. The battle to regain ground from Islamic State (IS) raged in the distance. I heard story after story of people who had lost everything and lived with the daily stress of “ISIS coming”. To see a pastor in October return to his church, now liberated from IS and passionately ring the church bells for the first time in 2 years was incredible. It was such a powerful picture of hope, courage, and resolve that rang out over the city. Please keep praying as we continue long-term restoration plans for the local church.

Continue reading

Sharing Hope With The ‘War Kids’ Of Syria At Christmas

Meet Rafael*, a 21-year-old doing everything he can to share hope with the ‘war kids’ of Syria.

Rafael*, 21-year-old Christian from Syria.

Rafael*, 21-year-old Christian from Syria.

“Children should play, they should have fun, and they should participate in celebrating Christmas and Easter.” This conviction is what motivates Rafael* to remain in his country.

Last year Christmas was anything but peaceful in Rafael’s village. “On the day of Christmas 2015, rockets were fired at our village. This happened while the children were already waiting to enter the place of our Christmas celebration. What should we do as youth responsible for the event? We didn’t really have time to talk about this. We decided to open the doors and to celebrate Christmas, despite the rockets that fell on the village. Continue reading

3 Things About Egypt Church Attack & How The Church Responded

On the morning of Sunday 11 December, a bomb exploded in a church in Cairo. At least 25 were killed and 49 wounded. Here’s what we know so far:

Image: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Image: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

1. It happened near the biggest Coptic church in Cairo.

The bomb exploded in St Peter’s church, a chapel adjoining St Mark’s Cathedral, the largest and main Coptic Cathedral in Cairo.

“The explosion shook the place … the dust covered the hall and I was looking for the door, although I couldn’t see anything … I managed to leave in the middle of screams and there were a lot of people thrown on the ground.” Emad Shoukry told Reuters.

Egyptian security officials reportedly said that an explosive device with around 11 kilograms of explosives was placed in the chapel, exploding around 10am during Sunday Mass. Continue reading