Finding New Life amid Lives Shattered by War
January 25, 2018
Aimar*, his wife and their five children live like refugees, but they have not left their native Syria; their country has left them.
Nearly seven years of civil war have ruined the economy and infrastructure, and millions of people are jobless or underemployed. Since his former workplace was destroyed, along with hundreds of others, by bombs and artillery fire, Aimar and his family live in a mildewed room with a small bathroom and kitchen.
Employers still doing business are unable to pay as much as they did before the fighting. The drop in wages comes at a time when families such as Aimar's are most needy.
"We are going through a financial crisis and live in very difficult conditions," he said. "I feel guilty because I can't provide my children with their basic needs of food, milk, or toys."
And the struggles come as families, many of them impoverished even before the war, are suffering health crises.
"When one of my daughters gets sick, we can hardly get the medicine we need," one mother says. "Because of the war and the circumstances we went through, my daughter is having psychological issues."
"My children suffer from illnesses related to too much moisture in our apartment, and they need medical care," Aimar said. "My eldest son has a tumor in his forehead and needs an operation."
The family is $700 behind on rent, and they are in debt another $800 in living expenses, he added.
Imagine being the indigenous Christian worker based in Syria who heard Aimar say this, and that another head of a Muslim family told you his 8-year-old son has cancer in the blood and has suffered five years of inflammation of his liver and spleen.
"He is now healed of the inflammation in his organs, but he is sometimes infected with inflammation or high fevers and needs medicine," the father told the ministry worker. "My wife, four kids and I have found ourselves struggling in our day-to-day lives because of the war. On top of that, we are waiting for a new baby."
He went on to say that a missile had hit near his home, and the blast traumatized his daughter.
"She continues to suffer the effects and has a difficult psychological state but is now being treated in a social center," the father said. "Our financial situation is very stressful because my wife had some pregnancy complications, and we need to pay our rent. We are unable to afford the house we live in or our children's needs. Sometimes our neighbors give us some food, but we have no other help except from you."
The mother of another Muslim family told an indigenous Christian worker how the war has driven them to live in a room whose rent is high even though it's located in a crime-infested neighborhood where their neighbor sells drugs. Her husband works part-time as temporary jobs arise, and she pays a nursery $266 a month to take care of her daughters while she continues to look for work.
"When one of my daughters gets sick, we can hardly get the medicine we need," she says. "Because of the war and the circumstances we went through, my daughter is having psychological issues. We hope that in the nursery they'll be able to help her overcome the trauma she is experiencing."
Overwhelmed by Love
The indigenous ministry helped her pay part of their nursery fees and provided the family mattresses, blankets, and other household items. For the man with the cancer-stricken 8-year-old son, indigenous missionaries helped his family get blood tests and medicine for him, paid their rent and provided and milk and diapers.
For Aimar, who had gone to some foreign-based charities for help but received no response, the indigenous missionaries provided food and milk and helped them pay their rent.
"People who have nowhere to go, who have nothing, when you help them pay their rent, they feel overwhelmed by the love," the director of the indigenous ministry said. "They are so full of gratitude and say, 'Why would somebody do that?' Then the leader will say, 'Because we are followers of Jesus and want to help, as He would have us do.'"
While workers feel they could always do more, the spiritual impact has been phenomenal. Nearly all of the 75 families who recently received aid near Aleppo and Damascus have put their faith in Christ and are involved in a discipleship group. With assistance from Christian Aid Mission donors, the ministry is providing aid to well over 1,000 people in Syria, where Islamic State terrorists are continuing guerrilla attacks after having lost all their territory.
"Please pray for us as we continue to tell others the Good News," the director said.
Indigenous Christian workers who serve these families have the local knowledge and contacts to get past check-points and reach them in their native Arabic, but needs far outstrip resources. Please consider a gift to help them reach grateful Muslims for Christ.
*Name changed for security reasons