Syria Appeal - November 2017

With Every Act of Love

I was recently listening to a favorite song by Jason Gary and the refrain reminded me of the many, many ways in which your gifts to the Syria Appeal have encouraged the work and witness of the Presbyterian Church in Syria over these past years of war: supporting families so that they can remain despite the awful economics of war; undergirding the mission and ministries of individual congregations; helping to train the next generation of leadership for those churches.

We bring the kingdom come
With every act of love
Jesus, help us carry You
Alive in us, Your light shines through
With every act of love
We bring the kingdom

The photos included here give glimpses into the ways in which your generous gifts – your “every act of love” – for the Church in Syria to The Outreach Foundation have allowed us to respond quickly to requests from the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon. The Outreach Foundation is blessed by a long, deep and trusted relationship with the Synod and with its General Secretary, the Rev. Joseph Kassab. Over the past few days, I asked him to reflect upon the current situation of the Presbyterian Church in Syria by responding to a few questions:

What are some of the biggest challenges facing your congregations in Syria?
•    How to be vessels of reconciliation between conflicting groups
•    How to stay focused on having a future in and a call to Syria
•    In the face of severe economics, how can the Church best serve those afflicted by war

What are some of the greatest opportunities for your churches to do ministry "beyond their walls"? 
It is only through ministering to people outside the walls of the church that the Christ in our worship becomes a living Christ in the midst of the people. Meeting people through their pain and need is the greatest opportunity for us to experience discipleship. By going outside the walls of our churches, we are actually strengthening the spiritual life of the Church inside. And in such a catastrophic situation like Syria, helping the poor and feeding the hungry becomes a relevant message to the public: “Yes! We have a God who cares!”

On Facebook, we see in so many of the churches large numbers of children and youth. Might this be a sign of hope for the Church in Syria?
The children’s ministries in our churches are booming! It is a blessing that we can gather children around the Church. We count on the Spirit of God working with these children, interpreting the faith for them stage by stage. We have lost many young people who left to secure better futures outside of Syria. So, we are pouring ourselves into these children – they will be our future.

We believe that God can use all our experiences for his purpose. In light of that, how might the Church in Syria be transformed by this current crisis?
This war is an awful evil. Of course God can use us in such a situation but mostly change us. We have found joy in being a Church for others… We are less egocentric and self-centered. Our pastors have found renewed energy and vision. Although the Church is passing through suffering… she will be a better church because she is resembling her Master.

All of us at The Outreach Foundation thank God that you continue on this journey with us alongside the faithful, witnessing Church in Syria until peace is restored.

Joyfully,
Marilyn Borst
Associate Director for Partnership Development

You may send gifts to our office which support both families IN the churches and the ministries OF the churches. Or you may make an online gift HERE. Please designate your gift for the “Syria Appeal.” 

An electronic version of this update, which can be easily downloaded and shared with friends as well as members of your congregation, can be found HERE.

  Thanks to your act of love Rev. Boutros Zaour of Damascus, pictured in the middle with an Outreach team which visited his church in January, is starting repairs on a hole in the roof caused by a mortar that fell late on a Sunday afternoon.

Thanks to your act of love Rev. Boutros Zaour of Damascus, pictured in the middle with an Outreach team which visited his church in January, is starting repairs on a hole in the roof caused by a mortar that fell late on a Sunday afternoon.