Local Missionaries in Syria
Nine years of civil war followed by the spread of novel coronavirus infections have ravaged the country. The middle classes that began vanishing after protests in 2011 turned into civil war have been cast into poverty as COVID-19 spread, shutting down the already reeling economy and bringing widespread hunger and desperation.
Damages and atrocities by Islamic extremist factions in the civil war hardened many people against Islam in a country that is nearly 90 percent Muslim, and local missionaries have been able to bring hope in Christ to thousands. The growth of evangelical Christianity is spreading at a swift 4.2 percent per year, higher than the global average of 2.6 percent.
A local ministry requests assistance to cover the living expenses of its workers as they strive to help meet immense needs amid an unprecedented opportunity to share the gospel. Assistance is also sought to purchase Bibles and gospel CDs loaded with biblical stories and teachings for local missionaries to distribute to seekers and new Christians.
When possible as coronavirus concerns wane, about 1,000 children will resume attending regular events where they enjoy Christian fellowship and learn about Christ’s salvation. The ministry needs to train additional leaders and teams to keep up with demand. Workers also request assistance to provide children’s ministry starter kits to displaced Christians raised in Muslim homes who are returning to their homes as local missionaries.
Sources: Joshua Project, Wikipedia
How to Pray for
- Pray that local missionaries and those they are serving will find the resources they need to survive amid an economy ruined by COVID-19.
- Pray Muslims putting their faith in Christ will find fellowship amid times that make it difficult to gather, and that they will be protected from fierce opposition.
- Pray that more volunteers and leaders will be trained as children’s outreaches and other ministries resume.
More stories from Syria
Leading Muslims to faith in Christ in Syria brings the discipleship challenge of helping them to withstand persecution, among other issues. Recently local missionaries stood with a woman whose husband and son were killed for refusing to deny Christ. “That is a hard thing,” the ministry leader said. “She says, ‘Every time I close my eyes, I see my husband and my son in front of me, how they killed them.’”
Syria is an economic disaster after nine years of civil war and the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the crisis has hobbled a native ministry as well – even as workers have seen more people come to Christ.
Economic chaos amid the pandemic has forced a native ministry to scale back its number of local missionaries while ratcheting up the intensity of its crisis response.
“As we are able, our leaders continue to distribute food and clothing to those that lack,” the ministry leader said. “Our target criteria: any person that is in need.”
Local missionaries delivering aid to refugees in Turkey had never seen an elderly Muslim woman look anything but sullen, so they were curious when they saw her laugh as she talked with a group of Syrians in a tent camp.
The Christian workers asked her, “What happened? What did they say that has made you laugh?”
She told them, “They said, ‘You are always speaking so highly of these Christians, and you’re even visiting all the tents with them – what’s happened, have you become a Christian now?’”
Nine months pregnant when ISIS soldiers began going door-to-door in search of opponents and people non-compliant with Islam, an Alawite mother was terrified and immediately fled with her family to another part of Syria.
The family made it to a hospital hours away just as Haya went into labor. She gave birth as bombs fell, but soon nurses told her that everyone had to leave the hospital.
The exhausted Haya said her temperature was dropping fast, and that she could not move.