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Syria: Sarah’s explains why she’s staying

December 5, 2016

“I wanted to live a normal life like all youth around the world. I wanted to participate in all kinds of activities, wanted to travel, to have the best education, things like that.” Then the war in Syria started and turned everything upside down for the 21 year-old Sarah* from Aleppo, Syria. 

Sarah lives with her parents, brothers and sisters in the middle of Aleppo. It’s a city divided by war, literally. There are government-controlled areas and parts that are ruled by different opposition and rebel groups, leading to daily shooting, bombing and fighting.

“Our area is not that safe. We’re in danger because of the bombs and because of so many groups that are trying to attack. For five years we’ve been going through so many situations. We know we can die at any moment because of the bombs and the threats.”

She became afraid in the early days of the war. “But after some months living like this, things got better because of my faith. God is with us. I almost lost hope, but when I saw that He is with us we started praising Him in church. In the church we started with so many activities, all kind of meetings. We could talk about the situation in our youth groups, about us as Christians in this war and about our future as Christians.”

“We are the young generation that will build the future Syria, the generation that won’t face war in the future.”

“We are the young generation that will build the future Syria, the generation that won’t face war in the future.”

The Church in Aleppo currently faces many challenges. Sarah mentions emigration, people leaving the city, as the biggest challenge. “There are fewer and fewer Christians. Many Christians emigrated, families are afraid because of the dangerous situation for their children, young Syrians don’t see a future in the country, especially the boys. The church is getting smaller.”

So, why is she staying? “Aleppo is my city. I was born here, I love Aleppo. I cannot imagine that I would leave one day, I have to stay here. Aleppo is going to be fine one day, I will be part of rebuilding this beautiful city. It was the most beautiful city in the world and it will be even better. I don’t want to leave the city in such a bad situation. I have a deep conviction that when the Christians stay, the city will be better than it was.” She cannot imagine her place or even her country without a church. “There should be a church in future Syria, Christians teach that all people are of value, they speak about love and faith, things others cannot give.”

When she is asked what the worldwide church could do for the Christians in Syria, her answer is very clear: “Don’t pray for us, pray with us. That gives us strength. Pray for peace in our country, the church could organize a day of prayer for Syria. Pray in faith and with hope that things will get better. I thank the Lord for those who pray with us. That gives us hope and helps us to keep going.””

Her advice to us is clear: “Keep your faith in God, have hope, God is listening, trust Him. And when you are in a country with peace, thank God every single day for that peace, pray for those who live in danger or who are not living in peace.”

*Name changed for security reasons

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