Monday, October 8, 2012

Christians brave as Syria spirals further

Syria (MNN) ― Few believe the Syrian civil war will end any time soon. In the meantime, the cities of Homs, Aleppo, and Damascus are home to civil war, where the future of anyone living there is uncertain. Shelling, mortar attacks, rebel violence, and more are commonplace. The terror is felt by all who live there. Many want out.

Spokesman for Open Doors USA Jerry Dykstra reports Christians are pleading for prayer. Dykstra shares an e-mail he received from a pastor there. "I am crying like Nehemiah because the walls of our cities are being burned and people are in great trouble. I can weep like Jeremiah because of the intensity and spread of evil. I can mourn like David because of the indiscriminate brutal killing of innocent killing of innocent people -- children, women and our youth."

According to Dykstra, this is an ongoing disaster. "People are dying in the streets. It's been going on for almost 20 months now, and there has been no resolution. That has been very discouraging, especially for the people who live there."

That discouragement is causing people to leave. "300,000 people are now refugees from Syria in countries like Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. That's triple the level of just three months ago."

Christians face even more risk than the average Syrian. "Christians are not only victims of the general violence, but also being targeted by militant Islamists."

Open Doors is providing relief aid to Christians. Dykstra says, "We hear reports that many Christians are sharing with their Muslim neighbors, they're taking care of their children. So even in the midst of this terrible tragedy, we see the Lord working."

Dykstra says their work has been curtailed because of the violence. However, Bibles and other Christian literature have been well received by those affected by the conflict. He says, "The Lord is really opening doors. That's why I guess Open Doors is 'Open Doors:' we believe that all doors are open and the Gospel is to be brought into these countries, whether it be Syria or wherever."

In an e-mail from their contact in Syria, Dykstra reads, "We deeply appreciate the prayer of God's people everywhere. This is a rare time when the church in Syria is feeling the true oneness of the body of Christ all over the globe. For this we thank the Lord for this great encouragement to us."

While things are difficult at best, Dykstra says, we can learn from these Christians. "Even in their brokenness, they're continuing to minister to others. And I think they're very concerned about their families and their future, but I don't think that's deterring them from sharing the Gospel when it's appropriate."

Open Doors supports persecuted believers all over the world. Your financial support can be an expression that believers are standing beside them, as well as providing the funding they need to purchase aid, Bibles, and more. Click here to support Open Doors work in Syria

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