Anna is 15. Five years ago, when she was just 10, her life changed drastically. She’s from Aleppo, in Syria. It’s one of the places that has been worst affected by the war. As the fighting intensified, her parents decided to leave their home. It was a tough choice.
“When my parents talked about leaving Aleppo, I was so excited to finally get away”, Anna says. “I was so scared on the road, there were loud sounds and military barriers all the way.”
Anna’s mum and dad were from an orthodox church. They used to go most weeks, but it wasn’t a big commitment. But after fleeing Aleppo, life became hard. Anna’s mum shares:
“After we left, we heard that our house was destroyed in a bombing. Going back to Aleppo was not an option for us, so we stayed here and looked for jobs.”
Life has been hard for the family – with little money and having to pay out for rent, they’ve had to cut back on all but the essentials. Anna’s mum, then heard about a church that might be able to help them, Anna’s mum found the church – an Open Doors partner – that had opened a Centre of Hope, providing all kinds of help to the community.
“When we had just fled from Aleppo, I used to ask God ‘Why? Why did this happen to me and my family?’” says Anna’s Mum. “I started to change in 2016 when I accepted Jesus as my Saviour, and I understood how He turns everything for the good for those who love Him. My biggest encounter with God was at the beginning of 2018.”
Anna’s mum had been struggling with an ongoing illness for years. Doctors has said they couldn’t do much to help – except for providing pain killers which would manage the pain. But then this all changed. “One day we were in a meeting in the house of one of the sisters, a member of the house church… they asked if anyone wanted to come forward for healing prayer. I took a step forward and they put their hands on me and prayed and anointed me with oil. After that I felt so relieved – I felt like I’ve never felt before.” After she got home that day, she noticed that the pain was gone. “I thought maybe tomorrow, when my kids upset me, the pain will return but so far I haven’t taken another painkiller. Glory be to God.”
Now, Anna, her mum and brothers and sisters all regularly attend activities and sessions at the Centre of Hope. Anna shares: “I am in a teenagers program called ‘My life has a meaning’… We are learning how to express our feeling and thoughts.”
Her brother Agop, 12, says. “I learned in the Center of Hope that Jesus is always with me. I learned how to open the Bible and read it, how to pray to God and how to sing worship songs.”
Lucy, there young sister is five years old now. She has memorized many Bible verses.
When looking back over the last five years, Anna’s mum paraphrased Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him”. It’s amazing to see that despite losing their home and security, Anna and her family are finding God’s presence and purpose with them. What an incredible attitude!
1. Download our free ‘God with us’ youth/small group session and work through material like this with your youth or small group…
2. Send a Christmas message of hope to young Christians in Algeria whose churches have been forcibly closed…
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.