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07/24/2023 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – I came into the Christian faith at the age of 16 and was drawn to Eastern church music and oriental art, which reminded me of the Apostles Peter and Paul, founders of the church in Antioch, the Bible state. I studied the Bible with my friends in Sunday school. That’s when I sensed that Christians living in the Middle East had lost their attachment to the Bible and the Church for many reasons.

One of the main reasons was their presence in a non-Christian society that does not give much freedom for Christian education. Society intimidates Christians and views them as inferior. My family as well had faced and dealt with that situation. I felt a responsibility toward this issue and decided to start studying theology at a university in Lebanon.

Later I took additional courses in Greece for a year and a half to graduate in 2005. At that time, I returned to my city to work in the field of Christian biblical education, ready for any challenge.

The next year, I got married to a Christian woman who also served at church working with teenagers at Sunday school. She had agreed to support me in my mission, and we are still serving together along with our three children. From 2007 to 2009, I was the general director of Christian education in my city, and later in 2010, I became responsible for the educational curricula in the church as well as the auditor for the religious educational curricula in the Ministry of Education in the country.

In 2011, the armed conflict started–the conflict the Church has long rejected because our Lord is LOVE and He came for peace and mercy for all.

During that time, I continued my educational work and organized ministry teams to assist the displaced. I started this work formally in 2013, and I am still working with my youth team in helping widows, the displaced, and the poor whose situations are the result of war.

Then, when the recent earthquake occurred, the pressure increased and the need became great; however our capacity to help was limited because of the international economic sanctions imposed on Syria. And unfortunately, the poor have suffered the most from these sanctions. I was ready for this challenge—to be a servant in a land where the martyred saints have lived since the first century—but I did not imagine the magnitude of difficulties to face.

The needs grew beyond material things to become psychological and, of course, spiritual. Thankfully, our Lord granted us success because, “The God of heaven crowns our work with success, and we, His servants, rise and build” (Nehemiah 2:20).

With all these challenges, you can understand the difficulties the church in Syria faces.

The long war and the economic sanctions undoubtedly contribute to weakening the spirit of hope and faith among Christians. Moreover, preaching in this case requires double efforts and different tools.

For example, we try to follow the Lord Jesus as He was teaching the crowds, but while teaching with His word, He also gave them food to eat and healed their diseases. The spiritual message was accompanied by physical miracles which allowed them to feel the presence of the Lord with them on every level of their being.

The love of Christ is not hindered by circumstances, but it becomes more difficult. We spread love to all religions and sects because the Lord Jesus taught us to consider every human being as a brother.

However, the practical obstacles are huge; even the cost of transportation has become difficult for Syrian families due to the high cost of fuel, and organizing activities to bring together the youth and families in the church is a challenge because of rising prices that are too expensive for the families to sometimes afford. Love should not only be expressed by words and preaching, but also by living together in peace, partaking in the bread of mercy, and helping the sick. Thus, the message of Christ is completed in a wounded world.

The earthquake was destructive in some areas; however, my area was safe, so it received and embraced the displaced. It was essential to help those people financially, medically, and spiritually. Unfortunately, we could not do much because of the economic sanctions and the international communities’ fear of violating those sanctions in sending help to Syria, but according to His faithfulness, God sent sufficient help.

This is our only hope in Syria: to live under the wing of the Lord and by the grace of the Holy Spirit. This country has gone through long destructive wars and persecutions throughout history.

Through it all, evangelism and the gospel continue because Jesus is in the midst of the Church, “so it will not be shaken,” as the Bible says.

What I want the Christian people in the West and the whole world to know is that we are brothers in the Lord Jesus, regardless of the color of our skin, our language, the way we sing, or our place.

We are in great financial and spiritual hardship, and we are in great need of the moral, psychological and spiritual support of our brothers in the West.

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