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5/24/2024 Syria (International Christian Concern) Although countless martyrs have paid the ultimate price during the 13 years of conflict in Syria, it has also been a time of revival for many Syrian Christians, including a young man named George.

George, who lives in northeastern Syria, was born into a committed Christian family and learned about the Christian faith at a young age.

After moving to western Syria to study medicine, George became estranged from his family and God. He nearly became an atheist.  

In 2014, when he was going to visit his family in the northeast, Jabhat al-Nusra militants stopped his bus and kidnapped everyone on it who identified as Christian. George tried to deny that he was a Christian, but a militant found his ID and papers that revealed he was a Christian, and the group kidnapped him. 

This is when George’s journey of torment began. In the name of their God and his service, the Islamic extremists tortured him, humiliated him, and sentenced him to arduous work until they decided the date that they would execute him. 

Days passed as his family grew more distressed. George’s suffering and unknown fate weighed heavily on his family.   

One day, the militants ordered George to dig his own grave with his hands. They asked him to kneel at the edge of the grave. He remained there for a few hours, sitting in his fear. Then, the militants gave him two choices: die for his God or deny Jesus, recite the Islamic Shahada, and convert to Islam. Either result would have been a victory for the extremists. They would either kill an infidel or convert a Christian to Islam.  

Because of his fear, George declared his Shahada in front of them and pretended that he had become a Muslim. The armed group later told him he had to say the Shahada in front of the sheikh and conclude the ceremony of converting him to Islam. Just before this was to happen, a miracle occurred. The Syrian army attacked the militant’s camp where George was being held, and in the chaos of the battle, he was able to escape.  

For the first time in a long time, George felt God’s presence in his life and was filled with gratitude toward Jesus. George knew Christ saved him from the terrorists, despite the fact he denied Jesus in front of terrorists. He wondered why God would intervene and save him from the depths of death into new life.  

George felt a new, clear sense of purpose for his life. He went deeper in his relationship with Christ, served more in his church, and shared his story of salvation with everyone he could so that they could see how amazing his God was. 

Although George survived, the trauma he had to endure remains with him. International Christian Concern (ICC) comes alongside Christians in Syria like George to support and encourage them in their faith as they press on in the persecution and suffering in Syria. 

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