News / Thoughts

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News / Thoughts

Syria: Making hope last

August 31, 2022

We caught up with Pastor Edward in Syria, a church leader who has been responding to the ongoing crisis in the region by shining Jesus’ light, meeting people’s needs and bringing hope. His church acts as one of over 60 Centres of Hope across the Middle East. These are places where the church is reaching out, practically helping with vital aid, trauma counselling, training, offering micro loans and more.

“The church was bleeding,” says Pastor Edward, looking back at the decade of persecution, war and pandemic that continues to have a severe impact. “We lost over 60 per cent of our members; they left Syria. It was so hard. Many of them had positions of leadership in the church.”

All Syrians and Iraqis have experienced hardship in the past decade, but Christians have faced more than most. In many regions, they were targeted by Islamic militants – losing their jobs, their homes and even their lives. Many had to flee, displaced either within Syria or abroad. Those who stayed either had no choice, or decided – like Pastor Edward – to courageously remain with the church.

The church hasn’t fully recovered its numbers yet, and Covid-19 derailed many attempts to rebuild lives and communities – but Pastor Edward has seen, and is seeing, God at work. “When we look back, we will see how the hand of the Lord was moving,” he says. “Some places were hit very hard, but the result was a great expansion of the Kingdom. God opened doors for the gospel.”

How the Centre’s of Hope are helping

At Pastor Edward’s Centre of Hope in Damascus, a lot of community connection was fostered by distributing emergency food and medicine. “The church has distributed relief items to the neediest. There were months where we gave over a thousand packages. We brought love and care to the people in need, in the name of Christ.

“We are the ambassadors of Christ in the country,” Pastor Edward says, of his church and the whole, growing network of Centres of Hope in Syria and Iraq. “We stayed with the message of light, when the embassies of the nations closed their doors. We gained a lot of respect from the whole community. People were touched by what we did as a church.

“Yes, it is tough, the experiences are painful but, at the same time, the Lord has His divine project. We are somehow instruments in His hand to complete this project.”

Pray now

  • For God to equip and strengthen Pastor Edward and all other Open Doors partners in the region
  • That persecuted Christians in Syria and Iraq would know God’s sustaining love and protection
  • For Centres of Hope to flourish, helping the church in the Middle East to survive, thrive and share the love of Christ

Five things you can do now:

1. Add you your light to our interactive prayer map and help make hope last across the Middle East. Do that here…

2. Learn more and pray: Get our free glow-in-the-dark World Watch List Map and find out more about the places where faith costs the most. Get your map here…

3. Pray regularly: Every Monday night at 7pm we’ll be praying one prayer for one minute for the one in seven Christians around the world who face persecution. Set an alarm and tune in…

4. Choose to Lose: Raise money by getting sponsored to lose something you love for a short time. Sign up and we’ll send you a fundraising pack…

5. Send a message of hope: Imagine getting a letter from a Christian on the other side of the world who’d heard about you and was praying for you – encouraging right? Well, you can send encouragement now to young Christians facing persecution. Do that here now…

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