Five Trumpets, Five Drums and a Piano

by Marilyn Borst

For over four years, I have been the “lead staff” at The Outreach Foundation for telling the story about the Presbyterian Church in Syria – our precious partner through the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon – and for raising funds which support their work and witness, their mission and ministry, their survival and “thrive-al” during this time of war.

Because of the gifts of so many faithful and generous churches and individuals, we have been able to respond with alacrity to the needs of these 18 Syrian churches of the Synod, helping them with the practicalities of life-during-war: food, medicine, heating fuel, alternative housing, etc. We have helped repair and rebuild sanctuaries which were damaged in the conflict. We have supplemented the salaries of pastors who have struggled because of wartime inflation. But we have also supported many ministries of those churches: their outreach to displaced and traumatized fellow-citizens who have sought refuge in their cities, a kindergarten, a reconciliation program for teens, a conference for university students, transportation for the elderly to come to church, scholarships for Syrian seminary students…

Beyond repair

Beyond repair

All these examples have been testimonies to the resilience of the Church and its commitment to remain and be “salt and light.” But this week, we were able to release funds for two particular requests which struck me as joyfully “noteworthy” given the context of war. One of those came from the Homs Church, whose sanctuary has just been repaired after mortars fell through the roof in 2012. They needed a new piano (I laid eyes on the old one when I was there in April and its debris-battered hammers and strings were beyond tuning). And the Lattakia Church needed musical instruments (trumpets and drums) for its “scouts” – a youth group which teaches discipline and teamwork via a musical ensemble. Picture a sacred drum and bugle corps which is often featured on Easter, Christmas and other festive occasions at the church.

When my team was in Damascus in April, the “scouts” at the Presbyterian Church closed our worship service with their delightful version of “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” which you can view HERE. You will note that even the smallest children participate in making this “joyful noise!”

Psalm 150 creates a pretty clear picture of exuberant, music-filled worship:
1 Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.

The Psalmist is clear: “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” Even the Church in Syria in the middle of war??? Apparently…yes.

Marilyn Borst
Associate Director for Partnership Development



Elizabeth Carter