A young refugee woman in a Middle Eastern country recently woke from a frightening dream.
Hala*, a Muslim from Syria, feared the dream about her feet bleeding foretold illness or some other misfortune.
“When I woke up, I was afraid,” she said. “Was something bad going to happen to me?”
Hala had visited a church several times at the invitation of a local missionary; he had told her the gospel, and she recognized a man in white in her dream as Jesus of Nazareth. In the dream, people were rushing to join a crowd of people at the top of a hill, she said.
“I too wanted to go, but I couldn’t find my shoes,” Hala said. “I heard a voice saying, ‘Leave your shoes and come.’ So I came running and found that everyone was listening to a man wearing bright white clothes standing in the middle of the crowd. Someone screamed and told me that my feet were bleeding. When the man dressed in white heard this sound, he looked at me. Right at that moment, I looked at my feet, and they had stopped bleeding – all the blood was gone. But when I looked at the man dressed in white, I saw that his feet had started bleeding.”
She recalled that the local missionary had given her a Christian book while distributing aid for refugee children. Hala found it and read in it, “He has taken on Himself our sicknesses.”
“That night, I understood that actually the blood that was coming from my feet was my sin, and Jesus took my sin,” she said. “My feet should have been bleeding, but it went to Jesus’ feet.”
The next morning she called the worker, who was also from Syria, as soon as she could. She told him that she wanted to put her faith in Christ and, as she had seen others do, announce her decision to the church at a Sunday service.
Nowhere to Work or Live
In the undisclosed city where Hala lives, the local ministry brings refugee children food, clothes and other aid – along with Bibles and the gospel – as part of its outreach to Syrians and others who have fled areas of conflict.
“Many of these children have trusted in Jesus,” the ministry leader said. “They are very gifted and faithful to God in difficult circumstances. Actually, God has used some of these believing children to bring their families to church as well.”
Many refugees have lost all their property and possessions in Syria to military airstrikes or land seizures, some are in danger of being identified as sympathizers or combatants with one side or the other, while others simply have no resources to return.
“Especially during COVID-19 lockdowns, a lot of them lost their jobs and couldn’t find new work,” the leader said. “Even those who were able to continue working often had reduced hours and made less money than before. There were a lot of needs to be met.”
Depending on family size and level of need, the ministry provided refugees help with rent and utility bill payments, as well as grocery store gift cards, he said. Families who have looked for work without success for several months or those with single mothers who have limited work opportunities received high priority, he said.
Giving aid opened ample opportunities to share the gospel.
“If it weren’t for your generous support, we could not have given these books that explain God’s Word to children, and hundreds of people would not have read God’s Word, understood, and believed,” the leader said. “Even if these people are facing difficulty and persecution, they are proclaiming that Jesus Christ is their Savior.”
Workers regularly pray with refugees for physical needs and other problems as they gain trust and learn of relational, emotional and spiritual issues.
In another Middle Eastern country, workers from a local ministry visited the home of a 21-year-old refugee suffering severe depression.
“His father was dead, and he was under pressure to care for his family as the sole provider for himself, a sick mother and two handicapped sisters,” the ministry director said. “He felt powerless as he battled severe depression under the burden.”
One of the team members asked if he could pray with the young Muslim man.
“At the end of the prayer time, he felt something different but didn’t know what it was, so he asked the team leader to come and visit again,” the director said. “And so began a journey of Bible study at his home that after several weeks led to life change. He and his family gave their lives to Jesus.”
Discipleship for refugees who come to Christ takes place in different ways. In a refugee camp in another area of the country, the ministry erected a tent for three discipleship groups; one for people ready to be baptized, a second group for study of the entire Bible and a third for women.
“Our work is not only spiritual but social,” the leader said. “We guide the men not to marry more than one woman. Two men decided not to divorce their wives to marry other women. Our refugee program is ongoing, but there remains a greater need than there is funding.”
Please consider a donation today to equip native workers to bring the love of Christ to refugees throughout the Middle East.
*Name changed for security reasons