Eight years of brutal civil war has devastated the landscape of many cities in Syria. Many were forced to flee, either because of the violence, or because of the associated inflation and unemployment.
But, despite the risks, some Christians have chosen to remain. They are following Jesus in their homeland, no matter the cost, and seeking to share His love with those around them.
That is why Open Doors, through our local partners, helped establish ‘Centres of Hope’, places which provide training and services for those who remain. They distribute food, run youth and children’s activities, teach English, disciple new believers, provide business loans and run marriage and parenting courses among other things.
Pastor Abdallah started one of Syria’s Centres of Hope through his church in Aleppo. The Centre supports those in the community hit hardest by the war.
Image: Pastor Abdallah standing in the ruined part of Old Aleppo in Syria.
“The families are perplexed and confused about their future,” said Pastor Abdallah. “They are without jobs; their houses are destroyed or damaged. There are so many challenges in people’s lives.
“Our Lord is offering a better life for people. I believe that we should be the same as our Lord Jesus Christ, offering a better life for people spiritually, but also practically. As a Church we want to stand next to the people and help them. We want to see a better future for Aleppo and Syria.”
The Centre supports people like Abdel, whose son lost his sight while serving in the Syrian army during the war. Abdel’s wife lost her life during the war, and another of his sons was kidnapped and is still missing. He receives food packages from the Centre of Hope.
Image: Abdel with his son at the Centre.
“The expenses are unimaginably high”, he said. “My salary is low, and I have no one else who can work. This package supports us for a month.”
An elderly man, Abraham, also receives food packages.
“I get this package for myself, my son’s wife and my grandchild. My son was kidnapped five years ago. This really helps us.”
Without the Centre of Hope, Abdel and Abraham would have no choice but to leave in order to support their families.
When whole Christian communities are supported and empowered through Centres of Hope, they can remain and rebuild in Syria, ensuring the survival of the gospel in that region.
There are currently 16 Centres of Hope operating in Syria. Pastor Musa runs another.
He said, “Our Centre of Hope is the new way to communicate with the community. The Church should be standing in the midst of society. It’s so important to be with the people in both good and bad times… People come with broken hearts and they receive healing through our work.”
Toni has attended youth meetings through this Centre of Hope for three years.
He said, “It helped me to come closer to God, to become more mature and, of course, helped us as youth to socialise. Through this cruel war we have witnessed so much violence. The meetings helped us to be filled with love for each other, for our city and our country.”
Stories like these speak of hope shining through in some of the darkest places. And you can be a part of it.
The crisis in the Middle East is not over yet. Millions are still displaced. But you can help feed the hungry, dress the needy, comfort the weeping and share the good news with the lost.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.