Danger Surrounds Syrian Christian Ministry

DAMASCUS, Syria (June 12) - An indigenous missionary from nearby Lebanon crossed the border to baptize a believer last week. Instead, he had to bury him - shot in the head as a martyr for his recently found faith in Jesus Christ.

Native missionaries continue to share gospel CD's, baptizing new believers and delivering food and medical aid to suffering Christians in Syria while violence rages around them. More help is needed each day according to one of the ministries in Syria being assisted by Christian Aid Mission in Charlottesville, Virginia - and a Lebanese team is preparing to deliver more aid as soon as funds arrive from the USA to buy supplies at the local market.

Syrian refugees in Lebanon

"Right now," said the missionary leader at his base in Lebanon, "there is no food or medicine left. The economy has come to a standstill and there is no work. Many Christians are sick and starving, along with other minorities such as the Bedouins and Gypsies.

"I went there to bury a friend who died last week. I was supposed to be baptizing him. I ended up doing his funeral. I led him to Christ two years ago. He was a key helper in the ministry. He was shot in the head. Why? Because he had become a Christian."

The slain Christian had been witnessing to many friends and neighbors and led a growing house church that met in his home with 43 other believers. He was actively involved in delivering aid to some 600 Syrian Christians in his area.

"Lots of people came to the funeral. In the beginning I did not know how to start the service. Then I decided to share some letters of encouragement from the churches. I invited several of the believers to read in front of the meeting. They were so encouraged to know that they are not alone-by the time we were done there were tears of joy instead of sadness. As it says in the Word, when one member suffers, all suffer."

The Lebanese leader of the mission is preparing now to go back to Syria with Bibles, CD's, food and medicine. He listed the following needs:

"Yesterday," he said, "I was harassed by local authorities.

"You know what this tells me? Simply that I am doing the right thing. I feel every time we move forward, Satan tries to stop us. That is why I want to continue - especially now when we have more people coming to Christ and being baptized. I will not stop until I am with Jesus."

Lebanese Christians are ministering on both sides of the border with Syria, welcoming refugees into their homes and church buildings at considerable risk. Lebanese believers are trying to help with basic needs such as food, housing and medicine as funds permit. Rent for a refugee family can run as high as $800 a month.

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