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
Refugees fleeing violence who did not know the Lord showed up at a local ministry’s center and received critically needed aid. The single people and families heard about Christ, many of them for the first time, at weekly evening meetings and also in online videos and films, as well as face-to-face conversations.
An infirm mother called a local missionary at 3 a.m. seeking help for her son, who had left university under the spiritual oppression of a fortune teller. Workers visited and prayed for him, and his family saw him get freed from spiritual bondage; he slept that night for the first time in many years, and the entire family later received Christ’s salvation.
A refugee from Syria told local missionaries in Iraq that he had dreamt of a group of Christians visiting his house and telling him pleasant things that he could not now recall. He said he was a Muslim officer in the Syrian army who had fled when enemy soldiers occupied his home. “I remember when I woke up, I had a wonderful peace and joy that I had never experienced before,” he told them. “Can you visit us at home?”
A Syrian widow with several children had endured affliction before and after arriving as a refugee in Jordan. Islamic State (ISIS) invaders in Syria had seized her oldest son and, fearing they might take her other children, she and her husband had fled in 2013. Some of her children were able to help her husband in odd jobs he might find on the streets – until he was diagnosed with cancer.
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.’”