News / Thoughts

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News / Thoughts

Internally displaced what?

September 14, 2015

Millions of refugees have fled Syria to escape the fear, hunger and violence that have become a daily reality during the last four years of civil war – but there are 6 million ‘internally displaced people’ in Syria, refugees who have lost their homes but remain within their war-torn nation. Why don’t these people leave too? Why would anyone stay in Syria?

Some are simply too poor to leave. There are many stories of refugees selling everything they have in order to pay smugglers to take them away from Syria to safety – but some simply don’t have anything left to give. Others are too old or unwell to make the journey. The refugees who remain in Syria are often the poorest and weakest members of society.

But others are choosing to stay to provide support for these vulnerable people, to show them the love of God and to give them hope – and your support is enabling us to help them as they do.

Giving hope

Open Doors is providing emergency food supplies to 9,000 families in Syria every month through local partners. One of our partners is Pastor Samuel* who lives in Aleppo. He says: “Despite everything that has happened, we are all trying to do our best to serve the people who remain and provide God’s hope in a hopeless situation.”

He told us about one of the families who receives emergency food supplies. The father lost his workshop because of the war, leaving them with no income at all. They have a 12-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son. Most of the children’s classmates have left the country, and they would ask why their family can’t leave as well. The children have suffered from nightmares, as well as malnutrition. They spend most of their time indoors as it is too dangerous to play outside, and they have to go to bed early as there is no electricity to keep the lights on.

Pastor Samuel says: “I suggested they let the children attend our Sunday school. Then, at least once a week they could meet in the church with other children who live in similar circumstances. They could sing, listen to Bible stories, and play indoors with other children. We can even offer the children a nutritional hot meal. We also provide them with Bibles and food parcels wherever possible.”

The parents agreed, and after a few weeks the parents told the pastor: “It was a blessing for us and our children to attend the Bible camp. Before, our children were unable to sleep and they never prayed. Now, they are reading Bible stories and are praying every night. Their hope is in God.

“We want to thank God and the church for the food parcel as well. A smile has entered our home and our children now laugh sometimes, especially when they go to church. Praise the Lord because you are giving us a glimpse of hope in a hopeless situation.”

Thank you!

This is just a snapshot of the difference the church in Syria is making, thanks to your prayers and support. “We thank God for all those who pray for us and who support us,” says Pastor Samuel. “The Lord is watching us. He is our fortress, our strength, and refuge. He will protect us.”

However, Pastor Samuel describes how there is ‘no sign of improvement in the situation’, and the church is going to need our support for the long term as they serve the most vulnerable people who remain in Syria. Open Doors is committed to being there for as long as we are needed – but we can’t do that without your help. You can stand with your church family in Syria by:

Praying. “In many situations the only thing we can do is pray. Psalm 91 comforts me and gives me strength,” says Pastor Samuel.
Giving. £4 can provide an emergency food parcel that will help one person for a week. Give here or text ODYG15 £4 to 70070 to give £4…
Speaking out. Sign our letter to our nation’s leaders to ask them to do more for the church in the Middle East.

*name changed for security reasons.

Please pray…

  • For comfort and provision for those who remain in Syria, particularly those who have been forced to flee their homes
  • For strength and encouragement for Pastor Samuel and others who have chosen to stay and serve their people
  • For wisdom for the leaders of Syria and other nations and they face this crisis.

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.