Assisting the Earthquake Victims
Our dear friends from around the world,
Thank you so much for your prayers for me during my recent travel to Syria to help those affected by the earthquake. My purpose was to stand with them, console them, meet some of their needs, and show them the love of Christ, and by God’s grace, I was able to do all this.
Over the last 12 years, Syria has been ravaged by a civil war, which is still ongoing, before being struck by the Coronavirus pandemic. These events greatly weakened the country’s infrastructure and economy, making it desperately hard to respond adequately to the earthquake. Yet despite these tragic events, God has been at work and he has opened up new opportunities for the church to expand and grow in influence in Syrian society. So it was a great privilege for me as a representative of Refuge Cities Network (RCN) to be a small part of God’s work there.
After I crossed the border into Syria, it took 4 hours by car to reach Aleppo and we crossed more than 12 security checkpoints and inspections. This was a disturbing experience and I found myself remembering the words of Joshua at each checkpoint:
‘Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies? “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” (Joshua 5:13)
I arrived in Aleppo safely and immediately met our local church partners and began helping them develop a plan for emergency assistance, followed by help with the post-earthquake phase.
The urgent need now is to provide food and washing facilities for families sheltering in school buildings. Each school accommodates 100 to 150 families – approximately 1,000 people, including men, women, and children – with 3-4 families sharing each classroom.
During my stay, I noticed that little attention is being given to the very many children in these schools. It would be wonderful if we could show them some Christian love by buying and distributing gifts and creating a special program for them.
Thanks to your support of RCN, I was then able to distribute:
150 Hygiene bags to 150 families in one school,
80 food boxes to another shelter,
The rental costs for 25 families in Aleppo and Tartous.
The church itself accommodates 170 people, including 60 children, sleeping inside the building. Again thanks to your help, we were able to provide a dinner for everyone and we also encouraged them from the Word of God. We gave presents to the children containing the best types of chocolate, chips, and juice.
The church is also trying to help families find good temporary housing for them to rent for up to 6 months before moving back into their own homes.
Finally, we are considering the possibility of a return visit in one month, so that we can evaluate the situation and help the church plan for the next stages. In addition to continuing to provide as much help as possible for the needy. That plan is that Jamal and I will go together then.
Refuge Cities Network
Mathew 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Mathew 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’