Syria Relief Update
Thanks to a generous response from churches and individuals to The Outreach Foundation’s appeal, earlier this year, on behalf of the relief efforts of the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, Outreach was able to send over $37,000 for the needs of Presbyterian families who have been displaced or adversely affected by the ongoing conflict there. Along with funds from the Synod itself, 122 families (almost 500 persons) from the cities of Homs, Hama and Idleeb, have received assistance, ranging from $300 to $900.
Pictured at right is one of the Presbyterian churches in central Syria with major damage.
With the conflict now extending into Aleppo and Damascus, where two of the larger Presbyterian churches are located, the needs of the Synod are growing and many more families await help to meet the basic needs of food, medicine, housing and school fees. Additionally, with colder weather beginning, expenses for heating fuel will add to the burden of many whose jobs have been suspended or businesses closed. The Synod has also identified an urgent need for professional counseling as the conflict is now in its eighteenth month with no end in sight.
With that scope in mind, the Synod has now strategized a Refugee Assistance Program which seeks to locate, evaluate and provide for the physical, spiritual and emotional support for displaced persons associated with the Synod, both families and pastors. The program will provide training for local caregivers as well as for leaders in the local congregations who will implement the program (assessment, case management, distribution, volunteer coordination, etc). Some of the primary needs emerging include cooking and heating fuels, blankets and tuition assistance so that children can stay in the Christian schools. Families who have left Syria and gone to Lebanon will also be assisted.
In a recent letter we received from the General Secretary of the Synod, the Rev. Fadi Dagher writes:
I would like to express deep gratitude to all of you who have prayed for and supported us… you have been brothers and sisters in the real sense and for which we praise God.
The intensity of violence, the huge number of innocent people killed, the distraction [disruption] in the major cities where our churches have lived and served in peace… is beyond imagination. Indeed, some of our churches are still unable to meet regularly for worship, like our church in Homs which has been partially hit… Naturally, no Christian community can escape the fate of the communities in which they live, thus, all share the struggle for life, and sense the loss of the basic conditions for“normal” life. We, as a church, and in cooperation with other churches, are trying to do what is possible with very limited resources which makes it hard to reach all whom we want and need to reach.
Friends, beyond the tragic situation from a human and economic point of view… are also deeply concerned for our very presence… Indeed, while all of us request reform, freedom of speech, equal opportunities and social justice, we also cry for peace, peace, peace… and a normal future for our children so that they will stay in Syria. And so we appeal to you to continue to pray for us and with us that God’s peace and God’s righteousness will prevail in Syria… Pray for us to have hope, and to be able to give our people hope.
The Outreach Foundation invites you or your congregation to join us in coming alongside fellow-Presbyterians in a war-torn place, being reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul: 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.Galatians 6: 9-10
To support this ministry, please designate your gift for the "Syria Appeal." You may send a gift to our office or make an on-line gift through our website at www.theoutreachfoundation.org.
And thank you for praying for our brothers and sisters in Syria.
The Outreach Foundation