My name is Pastor Abdalla and I am from Aleppo in Syria. On behalf of the Alliance Church in Aleppo, and the body of Christ in Syria, I want to say how thankful to God we are for everyone who has supported us through Open Doors. It’s not easy to provide support for such a long time of crisis, to people you’ve never met, so we thank you for your love and commitment towards us as brothers and sisters in Christ.
I know that you will be celebrating the birth of our Saviour at this time. And we will, too. We still listen to songs and decorate the tree. We still gather at church, or in a home, and take communion together. But we celebrate Christmas differently since the crisis began. No longer do we visit houses and sing. We used to take our instruments and sing in the buildings and in the streets. We’d go and visit people and celebrate with them. We did it like this because it was safe. During the crisis, however, due to the lack of safety, we stopped. As Aleppo becomes safe once more, I think we will start to do these things again.
For now, will you join with us in celebrating Christmas? And will you continue to stand with us by praying for us, supporting the work of the church here?
It is difficult for me to imagine what might have happened if we had not have received support from Christians around the world – not only for the churches but also for society – because the church has such a powerful impact on society. There are different factions in Syria and they all have unstable relationships with each other. The church has the role to make these relationships stable, to bring all parties together to make the conversation between them, and help them have good relationships. When you solve the relationships, you have a stable society, and that’s what we are doing.
Even though the damage is huge, it is obvious to everyone here that life and reconciliation are coming back to Aleppo. Even though the bombs were falling around the building every day, we haven’t stopped. And now we are beginning to rebuild everything. That’s why we want Christians to stay in Syria. Christians have always been a part of Syrian society and we want it to stay this way. The right way to think is not to think of ways to help Syrians leave Syria, but to help them stay in Syria so that the church can fulfill God’s good purposes here in the country we love.
The church is helping those tired and traumatised by war by creating an environment of love, care and support. Sometimes we use things like music and art. This especially helps children to express their feelings by drawing and making music. Sometimes, we can change the way they think about the things surrounding them and create new memories. I think that the church can make a big difference in these cases.
The number of families we help as a church, too, is so big and the need is so big. A lady came to me and said that other organisations had stopped helping her. She begged me, “Please don’t stop helping us.” We need to help these people – and we need to find people jobs.
We feel that light will come into the world and into our hearts in these difficult days.
The Christmas story reminds me that Jesus experienced all of our difficult situations. He gave up all of His glory and came to share His life with us. He is our hope. And so we see things differently now. When we put the lights on the tree we see them in a different way. We feel that light will come into the world and into our hearts in these difficult days. This light is still giving light in people’s lives during the crisis: it’s the same light that has been through the ages.
We’re so thankful that we have brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world, standing with us during this crisis. Thank you for the blessing you are to us as family. We need your support.
Your brother in Christ,
First: I would like the church to pray for more servants, we need more servants. There is a harvest but we need servants.
Second: I would like to pray for the church to have more influence in the community. I would like to pray for believers to take their roles, to take their places and be influencers in society.
Third: We need to train new leaders, we need to create a new generation.
Fourth: Pray for the children to have new memories: colours in their thoughts not images of the war.
Fifth: There are many needs in Syria, we need the church and other organisations to support Syria.
Sixth: I want Christians to stay in Syria and not leave.
And for myself: the one thing I always ask for is wisdom, in every matter and every decision that I take. For the sake of the church, I don’t need good wishes, I need wisdom.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.