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DAY 26 – JULY 1st, 2016
Syrians on an Uncertain Journey
Until recently, Syria was a stable, prosperous country. Children went to school and young people on to higher education. Under the rule of Assad religious and ethnic minorities lived peacefully with the Sunni Muslim majority.
With the coming of the Arab Spring the situation changed dramatically. In 2011 a civil war erupted which becomes worse year after year. More than half of the population has fled their homes – and started on an uncertain journey. Many fled within the country to relatives and friends. More than 4 million are now living in neighboring countries who struggle to accommodate them. No one knows what the future will hold.
But then, this uncertain journey also made it possible for Muslims to escape a tightly controlled social environment. This has allowed them to show interest in the Christian faith more openly. In addition, the terrible things done by the so-called Islamic State extremists challenge many Muslims to question the values of their religion. Many Muslims are open now for invitations to the churches who offer them practical love shown by distribution of food packages, blankets, heating material and counselling. In some areas, churches are full of new believers, in other areas there is openness and many opportunities to talk about faith.
A family in Beirut told how they fled from Syria into Lebanon, leaving everything behind. They live in a small apartment. It is difficult to feed the whole family, and their children cannot go to school every day. But amidst these circumstances they say: “We have lost our home, but in Jesus we found something much more precious.”
How to Pray
- For the end of the conflict in Syria. Humanly speaking this seems to be impossible, but God is able.
- For the millions of refugees and their physical and psychological needs.
- That the church will respond wholeheartedly to help and support refugees with both immediate and ongoing needs as they integrate into their new homelands.