As political struggles persist in Syria, violence continues to displace residents within a country that, for so long, has been a harbor for those fleeing neighboring nations. Mariam* and her 35-year-old daughter Suha* were among those forced from their village on a night in June, wearing only their pajamas.
Aided by their local Catholic priest, the two women boarded a hearse bound for Damascus. When they arrived, their sleeping quarters were the canvas roof of a small shed.
In an instant, Mariam and Suha became two of an estimated one million displaced people within Syria’s borders with no resources and no home to return to. They heard there might be help for families like them at a local church, and they were right. The Nazarene congregation in Damascus has been providing basic assistance for displaced Syrians since May, when a wave of families arrived from nearby cities under siege.
On distribution days, the church’s small courtyard is packed with people desperate for bags of rice, beans, tuna, tea, sugar, tomato paste, jam and oil, and the free clinic treats nearly 100 patients each week. To date, they have helped 650 families with the basics, but with more than 300 still on the waiting list, the resources are running out. Will you help?
Mariam and Suha received food, a fan, medical care and clothes from the church. Hungry for God’s help and fellowship, they also accepted an invitation to worship at the church, and they began to attend every prayer meeting throughout the week. Both accepted Christ, and Pastor Rami saw their sadness turn to joy.
Suha is now visiting displaced families with others from the church, assessing needs, praying with the people and sharing the Good News. But as families continue to enter Damascus, the need grows. An estimated 1.5 million Syrians have lost their homes and livelihoods in the political crisis, with nearly half a million registered as refugees or awaiting registration. The other million remain within the nation’s borders, struggling to carve out new lives where the old have disappeared.
The Nazarene schools in Damascus, Beirut, and Amman have made room for Syrian students of displaced families to attend free of charge, but need help to cover the $600 tuition for each student. They also hope to provide book bags, toys and textbooks to these children, but the current resources don’t allow it.
Between now and March 2013, NCM is aiming to raise $90,000 to help 1,300 Syrian families in need throughout Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Your support is needed. Please give today. The churches are desperately in need of resources, and are deeply grateful for all prayers and donations during this insecure time.
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Source: Nazarene Compassionate Ministries