Christians, Targeted in Syria, Tell Their Stories

April 19, 2012

JORDAN – Refugees who have fled here from Syria are telling ministry leaders assisted by Christian Aid Mission of deliberate persecution from the “Arab Spring” insurgents which are seeking to overthrow the brutal Assad regime in Damascus.

Nearly 100,000 Christians have fled from Homs and other cities being targeted by government forces, but it is no longer just to escape the crossfire. Now, more reports are revealing that persecution is deliberate and growing. As a result, Christian Aid is sending more help to meet the needs of the growing numbers of refugees who have fled to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

"It is over; we can't get back what we lost,” said one discouraged Christian refugee here in Jordan. “It will never be the same anymore for me or my family! We've lost hope.” He said he had to flee with his family at night, because anti-Christian persecution in Syria is becoming a steadily growing reality.

"I had my own business. I ran a supermarket, and we were financially stable. Unfortunately, that's not the case anymore; our dreams vanished when a group of terrorists threatened to kill my family, burn our house, and set fire to the store if I didn't pay them $7,000.

“I paid the amount, hoping that they would leave us alone, but they did not. Instead, they kidnapped me for a whole week. They only let me go on one condition: that each month I would pay them the same amount!

“What do you think I could do? I fled. I packed our stuff, taking only the basics. I took my family and came to Jordan. My son Omar has one year left to finish his bachelor's degree, but now his dreams have vanished as well. I was a business owner . . . but now I am a laborer barely able to provide the day to day needs for my family!"

Another older woman told native missionaries, "I was talking with friends next to our building when suddenly, from every direction, we heard gun shots. At the same moment I watched my friends fall in front of me dead! I lost my friends in one second. I was also hit by a bullet. It fragmented my knee, and now I can't walk normally."

Many victims have come to Syrian refugee camps in the northwest towns of Jordan. The economic and social demands of this crisis has put a great strain on the communities; health care and education systems are both overloaded by the influx of new patients and students.

Jordanian missionaries are visiting Syrian refugee families and listening to their stories, as well as distributing food packages, blankets, mattresses, and other aid. “Here at our mission,” said one leader, whose work is being helped by Christian Aid, “we view this refugee crisis as an opportunity to share the love of Christ. It is God who opened the door for us to minster to these refugees, and we cannot abandon our brothers and sisters.

“We believe that if we are faithful, this may be a time of harvest among the Syrian refugees. God is sovereign, and He cares. We must care too, for we are ambassadors for Christ and must reflect God's love.”

“As we show compassion for their pain and grieve with them, we also try to show respect as well. We distribute New Testaments and Christian tracts – particularly to those who have not begun to follow the Lord.

“After each visit we receive blessings from the refugees' reactions – one family told us that they had been visited by other charity organizations, but they know that we are different because we respect them and make them feel loved and welcome.”

A church being used by the missionaries has kept its doors open 24 hours a day for the refugees since the crisis began. The needs are huge. Many are unable to find jobs or ways to support them. Others are injured, struggling with broken bones, disabilities, and illness that need medication.

The leaders are asking Christian Aid to send more funds to help meet these physical needs. “We pray that God will use Christian Aid and friends in America to help us bring beauty from ashes. We pray that you all may be His hands and feet to share this work with us, and help us reach out to desperate and discouraged Syrian refugees.

“Please help us reach Syrian refugees with the gospel. Help us bring the hope of Christ into people's lives and win souls for His glory!”