The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2
LIGHT SHINES THROUGH A SISTER AND BROTHER
In this city, which was once a heap of ruin following a three-year siege at the beginning of the war, the women of the Presbyterian Church in Homs could not ignore the needs outside the walls of their church. With so many people displaced from other cities and often with no family or resources, to be sick or wounded was a frightening prospect. And so Micheline Koudmani, wife of Homs’ pastor Rev. Mofid Karajili and president of the Evangelical Women’s Charitable Association of Homs, challenged her organization (which was founded in 1930 at the Presbyterian Church) to minister to those whose needs could not be met adequately by other agencies. With a grant from The Outreach Foundation they began to bring hope and the presence of Christ in lives unraveling because of the war – like Lina, who is 47 years old and has cancer of the uterus. Expensive medicines and hospitalizations required her devoted husband to sell most of their possessions. When she lost her hair, he shaved his head. Without children, Lina is his family and he prays for her healing – as does the church in Homs, which also assists with the medical costs.
Zaher Moussa Bakhous was a hard working craftsman who was caught in the crossfire of war and took a bullet in his back. Surgery removed many bone fragments which were pressing on his spinal cord, but he is now paralyzed from the chest down and needed a wheelchair and medications. His workshop was looted, and it is now the church which has come alongside Zaher to meet his many needs.
Tragic cases were brought to the Women’s Charitable Association, like Mrs. Claud Dayoub who was forced to flee her village near Homs along with her husband and two sons. One son would later be killed on his way to school while the other immigrated so as to avoid mandatory military service. The Dayoubs sold their car so that she could travel out of the country to visit him, but a bomb exploded in a car next to the one in which she and her husband were traveling – her husband was killed and Mrs. Dayoub was badly burned and lost her sight. The women of Homs church have embraced her with love and care and are providing funds for necessary surgeries.
Micheline’s brother, Badih Koudmani, is a member of the Presbyterian Church in Damascus. Badih, a marketing professional who before the war had worked for Kia, Ford and Hyundai, discerned a way to use his skills and experience to both encourage the Christian community during the war and give witness to the “Good News” within the majority culture of Syria. At the beginning of the war, he began to train young adult volunteers – from the Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant (Presbyterian) communities – in the basics of photography, videography and journalism. He then challenged them to document events and activities of their Christian communities (concerts, diaconal work, visits of dignitaries, worship services, fellowship events, etc.) and post them to Facebook and other social media platforms. With help from The Outreach Foundation, the Syrian Multimedia Youth Team (SMYT – see their ministry on Facebook) began to organize their own outreach events like a summer games carnival to benefit orphans and, most recently, a distribution of coats and warm clothing to those impoverished by the war called “Warmth in our Hearts.” No doubt, Syria has been plunged into darkness for five long years. But the Light has dawned – it was born at Bethlehem “and the darkness could not overcome it.”
In Advent hope,
Associate Director for Partnership Development
We thank God that you continue on this journey with us alongside the faithful, witnessing Church in Syria. You may send an additional gift to our office or make an online gift through our website by clicking HERE. Please designate your gift for the “Syria Appeal.”