Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It has been a while since I sent an update. I would like to thank you for your continued prayers and support for our family and ministry in Lebanon. In this newsletter however, I would like to focus on our ministry in Syria.
Recently, a friend and I visited Syria for 3 days. Through a burden that the Lord had laid on my heart, I felt the need to go there, to make contact with the Christians to see if we could help and be a support and encouragement to them.
During our visit, we met a pastor, a Christian social worker with few of the staff members, a family and a few individuals. It was plain to see how much the Christians have suffered and are still suffering. In fact, according to some statistics, Syria has lost half of their Christian community which made more than 10% of the population during this 5 years of war.
The Pastor we met told us that he lost about 70% of his congregation as they fled the country. He sadly expressed that he would not like to see any more Christians leaving in spite of all of the difficulties.
The 3 main driving reasons for Christians leaving:
1. Fearing for their security
2. The economic situation
3. If they have young children, they want to flee so that their young ones would not be forced to go and fight.
The Christian social worker with a team of about 30 volunteers worked with their very limited resources. They help the poor and street children from all backgrounds. They assist Christian families who had to leave their home and come to her area around Damascus. Lately, they are trying to help the local Christians that are suffering due to the lack of funds and food.
The family that we spent considerable time with explained to us how difficult it is to live their daily lives. Life has become very expensive for them and necessities are not always available. Their currency has been significantly devalued and in Syria, it is against the law to own foreign currencies.
After this trip, my friend and I have been greatly moved. We would like to help as much as we can with the Christians in Syria.
1. They have requested for clothing and we are already in the process of gathering used clothes to bring with us or send them there in spite of all the difficulties we face in bringing anything across the borders.
2. The Christian social worker expressed to us that she and her team have been very discouraged, worn out and burned out. We would like to help this team come to Lebanon sometime in the spring for a 3 or 4-day retreat so they can get some physical and spiritual refreshment. We would like to raise the funds for this project.
3. We will start putting together a team of 5 or 6 Lebanese people to take a week long trip to Syria to visit Christian families, to listen to their needs, encourage, pray and minister to them.
4. We would also like to raise funds to send about $3000 every month if possible to help some of the Christian communities to buy food supplies such as milk, rice, cooking oil, etc.
If you or someone you know could help in any way, would you please let us know by sending an email to [email protected]
In closing, I would like to share these 2 verses with you.
Galatians 6:10 - Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Acts 11: 29 - The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea.
Thank you for continuing to keep us in your prayers. We are very grateful for your support and to be connected with you to extend His Kingdom. Pray for our brothers and sisters in the Lord in Syria!
May the Lord bless you richly!
George & Anne Merheb