06/14/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Syrian Christians who have escaped their war-torn country face incredibly trying circumstances to survive. Like all escapees, they apply for immigration status to legally start a new life in a new country, but few receive it. It’s like playing the lottery. Since immigration status is so rarely granted, returning to Syria will be the reality for many who are living as refugees in surrounding countries like Lebanon.
For one Syrian pastor, the only viable option was to escape to Lebanon and live as a refugee, where he now waits out the war. The pastor has lived with threats on his life for years. This is due to the fact that he is considered an apostate, a person of Muslim-background who converted to Christianity.
Apostasy, under strict interpretations of sharia, is punishable by death. This pastor now leads a congregation of approximately 500 Syrian Christians who have sought refuge in Lebanon. Most of the members of his church are also Muslim-background believers.
International Christian Concern (ICC) has come alongside many of these believers who are living without legal status and unable to afford basic necessities for survival. The average wait time for an individual to receive food aid through this pastor’s church was one year before ICC’s partnership. Through this project, 25 Syrian Christian families have received food packages on a monthly basis, depending on who has the greatest need at the time. The goal of this project is to provide these believers with enough stability to wait out the war, return to Syria, and rebuild the Syrian Church once the violence ends.
For some refugees, like Sister Amina, exposure to this kind of holistic ministry has shown a tangible representation of the love of Jesus. Amina is from the city of Aleppo and was born into a Muslim family. She experienced both social and religious extremism. She first came to the church in search of food because she could not afford any and her family was suffering. The love she found at church led her and her family to believe in Jesus. Her husband experienced a healing miracle and they have all since become servants of the church.
This food aid alleviates the financial pressure felt by both local pastors and Christian converts. It also supports the ministry of an underground pastor seeking to serve in one of the most dangerous areas of the world.
Through ICC’s support, more Syrian refugees are hearing the Gospel and experiencing the love of Christ through His Church. Still, prayer is needed for both this ministry as they reach out to Syrian refugees and others, seeking to bring the Gospel to hostile places.
For interviews with Claire Evans, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]