Turn on the news and soon you’ll see images and hear stories about the flood of refugees fleeing war torn Syria bound for Europe. Meeting the physical and spiritual needs of Syrian refugees is nothing new for MercyWorks. We have consistently been showing God’s love to thousands of Syrian refugee families for several years now.
Since the early days of al-Assad’s war on his people, MercyWorks has been distributing clothing, mattresses, pillows, mattresses, blankets, propane tanks, coupon books for free propane refills, heaters, etc. among the Syrian refugees. They report that it is Christians – “people of the Book” – who are the ones reaching out to them in their time of need. Many of them have come to know Jesus!
I just received a message from some of our co-workers in Greece who say things are truly desperate. They report about 20,000 refugees on the island of Lesbos, near the western coast of Turkey. More refugees arrive every day than can be ferried on from there and there are fights and riots break out as people try to gain access to the ferry. According to TIME reporter Simon Shuster, estimates as high as 1/3 of the people trying to get on the ferry are from impoverished nations like Afghanistan who claim to be Syrians in the belief they will be received in Germany. Tensions are running high, with lots of fights as thousands of people from different cultures travel in close proximity in competition for a chance to obtain a new life. Despite all the chaos and confusion, God is mightily at work among the Syrian refugees. Many of them are asking for a Bible. Let me tell you Ahmad’s story.
Ahmad and his wife Haya, along with their six children, left Damascus after his shop was destroyed in the war and his cars stolen. They made their way to a refugee camp in Jordan. One of our team members visited Ahmad after they were processed out of the refugee camp and found a place to live in the city. During the visit, Ahmad shared his uncle and two cousins back in Syria were killed that very week. “My two cousins were killed instantly by the bomb. Their deaths are sad, but don’t bother me as much as my uncle’s death. He was bleeding out and they took him to the hospital, but there was no blood to give him. We couldn’t help my cousins, but we could have helped my uncle.”
As a result of the trauma, Ahmad had heart palpitations and went to a local Christian hospital. He said, “When I was at the hospital they were playing a movie about Jesus. It was amazing all the miracles he did. They had books there about his life and I wanted to take one, but I was too shy.”
When we brought him the Book during another visit, Ahmad was so happy. Later, he told us “I believe in Jesus the exact same way you do. I believe he came from God to take away our sins. I believe he is more than just a man, it’s impossible he is just a man.” And the next time we visited, Haya, his wife spoke up “I believe Jesus died and rose again. It’s written in the Book and I believe it.” When her surprised Ahmad asked her how she knew this she replied, “I read it.”
Stories like this are happening throughout the Syrians refugees. Had they remained in Syria, they likely would not have heard about Jesus and come to know Him. Please pray for the Syrian refugees to be open to receive the free gift God is offering them. And please consider a financial gift to help us continue to reach out with His love to these people who have nothing, but who now have the opportunity to discover the One who freely gave everything that they might have life!