Night after night we see the images on television of a country at war with itself; armed insurgents clashing with the Syrian army while villages burn, naturally we get the idea that the whole country is burning but actually the violence is not nearly so widespread.
Where military forces are located, whether members of the Syrian army or the insurgents, there are hotspots of activity. But, there are also areas of opportunity where indigenous ministries can spread the Good News and give aid to the afflicted.
The most dangerous time is at night when people lock up their homes and pray that nothing happens. During the daylight hours indigenous ministries travel to various communities. Two Indigenous ministries that Christian Aid supports are especially focusing on the outcast segments of Syrian society, such as the Druze and Gypsy communities.
The body of believers in Damascus has been busy since the start of the conflict, meeting the needs of suffering people and empowering ministry workers to spread the Gospel.
It is very hard to count the number of internally displaced people within Syria's borders but many Christians have fled their communities and are gathering together for safety. Many have fled to other countries but the border is being watched and even crossing through the wilderness at night can be deadly.
An indigenous minister relates his story of helping several families escape the violence:
"Last night I received a phone call to get some families out of Syria because they were in danger," he says. "Their village had been looted and burned. They had escaped with nothing but their lives. They had gathered near the border of Lebanon, but couldn’t cross because the road was guarded.
This has been a normal practice of both the government soldiers and the rebels. As they approach a village, the people know they need to flee or get killed. There is no police protection because all who are loyal to the government are busy fighting.
The rebels had approached this village and had begun to kill anyone they found, whether children or adults. These extreme Muslims are killing people like crazy. They killed hundreds in this village, they stole anything they could find of value, and then burned everything to the ground.
Many of these families were involved with our ministry. We work with the Bedouin in Lebanon and these were of the same Bedouin tribe as those in Lebanon.
At 2 a.m. I drove through the Bekaa Valley and then north to the border of Syria. The believers were waiting for me on the other side and we communicated through our cell phones. They were stuck in Syria with roving mobs of fighters looking for people to kill and to steal from. Since the road out of Syria was blocked, they did not know what to do or how to cross the border into Lebanon.
I snuck into Syria through private roads and walked until I finally found them. We had to go way out of our way because we could not go on the regular route. I took the families and started heading back to Lebanon.
Suddenly we started hearing gun shots and began running. I looked around and saw one of the Christian brothers on the ground. He instantly died with his three-year-old daughter in his arms. I picked up his little girl and started running as fast as I could. I started praying with all my might, shouting, 'Lord! Please, we need you!'
As I finished praying, I felt something burning on my left arm. After three hours of running and walking, we finally reached our destination. I did not check it until I arrived at Qasir. Praise God, it was a small wound. The bullet had just grazed my arm. Praise God for His protection again and again.
Today I went back into Syria to see their village. I could only see it from a distance, but all the houses of the village were destroyed. They stole everything and then put explosives in all the houses and burned whatever they could not take with them.
Hundreds of Syrian refugees have come to us for help. We must take care of them but how can we do that? I don't know how we are able to help. I am doing my best, sharing everything we have. I am praying. This is all I can say. At this moment the only resources we have received are through the donations from Christian Aid and from my personal support. Whatever we have, it is time to share.
Please continue to pray for these refugee families and the believers that are facing a lot of pressure. They have left everything behind.
Pray for the fighters in Syria, the marauding mobs as they aimlessly kill and steal. Each side is fighting for their brand of Islam and they need the Lord.
Pray for the believers in Syria. Their only protection and security is the Lord. We take food to some of them, but it is never enough. They are in grave danger in Syria, but there is no place for them in Lebanon or Jordan or Turkey or Iraq. Pray for them, as they cry out to our Lord, because He is enough."