As Fighting in Syria Continues, Nazarenes in Neighboring Countries Respond27 July 2012
Since March 2011, the violence in Syria has escalated from protests and marches to what many governments and humanitarian organizations are calling a civil war. The death toll has reached 19,000 people, and in addition to the estimated one million internally displaced people within Syria, tens of thousands of refugees have fled to neighboring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.
The five Syrian Nazarene congregations with their almost 800 members have been praying for their country and government long before this year’s violence began. Four years ago, Nazarenes all over Syria started fasting the first three days of every month for this purpose. They are praying now more than ever for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and for their own safety.
The church in Damascus is focusing on providing basic needs, such as food, medicine, mattresses, fans, and diapers, for 350 families who fled their homes from cities like Homs where intense fighting has taken place. Most of the people coming to the church are Syrian Christians—a group that makes up about 10 percent of Syria’s population.
In addition to the 230-student Nazarene school at the Damascus Church of the Nazarene, the congregation also runs an afterschool program called Acts of God for 100 Iraqi refugee children who are unable to attend regular school programs because of their refugee status. These children, who fled to Syria for safety before the violence began, are beginning to relive the fear and instability they left in Iraq. While it is relatively safe to move around Damascus in the daytime, it is not so at night. In fact, the Church of the Nazarene is mourning the death of one of its members who was murdered last month after running an errand at night.
This week, Nazarenes in Jordan will partner with other denominations to deliver aid to some of the tens of thousands of Syrian people who have crossed the border. The majority of these refugees are living in tent cities or have found apartments in the northern cities. This need is vast and concentrated, and it will most likely be ongoing for several months.
“We are doing assessments so that we will deliver exactly what people need,” said the pastor who is heading up the effort to procure aid and volunteers. “We want to share what we have and also give words of comfort, love, and encouragement.”
Nazarene schools in Zarqa and Amman expect to enroll Syrian children this August and September—many of whom will be unable to pay the US $500 to $800 tuition fees for the year. In Amman, four Syrian families already received assistance from NCM when they enrolled their children for the second semester last school year.
The church in Damascus has asked for prayer. They are addressing the needs as best they can and report that many families are benefiting from the open prayers and fellowship offered by the church.
“We know God will make something good out of this bad situation,” the pastor said. “We have started classes for people to know more about Christ, and many are finding peace and hope in the midst of pain and sorrow.”
Join Nazarenes in Syria, Jordan, and other neighboring countries as they assist their Syrian brothers and sisters. Gifts made through NCM will combine with their efforts to support families during this insecure time.
* $25 can buy a mattress or provide supplemental food for a family until they can find some employment in the city.
* $50 can help supply medicines for people with chronic conditions or pay for two visits to a doctor.
* $100 can help with the first month’s rent to help keep a family housed.
* $700 can pay for a Syrian child to attend a Nazarene school next year.
To make a donation, click here.
Make checks payable to General Treasurer, and send them to:
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Church of the Nazarene
P.O. Box 843116
Kansas City, MO 64184-3116
In Canada, make checks payable to Church of the Nazarene Canada, and send them to:
Church of the Nazarene Canada
20 Regan Road, Unit 9
Brampton, Ontario L7A 1C3.
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