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Barazek: Syrian Cookies

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups of flour
3/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of butter or margarine
1/3 cup of sesame seeds
1/3 cup of water
2 teaspoons of honey
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

Instructions
1.    Toast 1/3 cup of sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat, stirring until the seeds are light brown.
2.    Pour the seeds in a bowl, and stir in 2 teaspoons of honey. Set aside.
3.    Mix 2 1/2 cups of flour, 3/4 cups of sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder.
4.    Add 1/2 cup of butter or margarine. Stir it into the mixture as you would if making pie crust. Add 1/3 cup of water, and stir just until dough forms. Add a little flour if it is too sticky to handle easily. (For even easier handling, chill for several hours.)
5.    Use your hands to make dough balls that are larger than a marble and smaller than a ping-pong ball. Flatten the balls somewhat, and put them on a lightly greased cookie sheet, leaving some space between them. Spoon a little of the sesame seed and honey mixture onto the top of each cookie, and slightly press it into the top of the cookie.
6.   Bake for 15 to 18 minutes at 350˚degrees until lightly browned.

Learn about courageous Syrian Christians in Bold Believers in Syria, free in Downloads section.


“You and Your Family Will Be Saved”

Syrian girls

Miriam and her family lived in Syria. Like most people in Syria, Miriam was raised as a Muslim. But when she was 13, she found a Bible in her older sister’s backpack. Her sister, she later discovered, was a secret Christian.

Miriam read her sister’s Bible and found the answers to many of her questions about life. Like her sister, she decided to follow Christ. But unlike her sister, she could not keep her new faith a secret. She talked to her friends at school, and she brought one friend a Bible. “I wanted her to know God, to know Jesus, like me,” she said.

But school officials searched Miriam’s backpack and found her Bible. They called her father and told him, “Your daughter must not give Bibles to anyone.”

As punishment, Miriam’s father burned all her belongings. He and Miriam’s mother spoke roughly to her and treated her harshly. Eighteen years later, they are still rude and harsh with her.

But Miriam said, “God has freed me from bitterness toward them….I love my parents. I reject the things they do. I share my faith with them. I believe the Scripture that says, ‘You and your family will be saved.’ That is what I’m holding on to. I am in tears praying for them. This is my faith. If I don’t love them my faith in Christ would be very shallow.”

To Do and To Talk About
•    How did Miriam’s parents find out she had become a Christian?
•    Miriam said, “If I don’t love them my faith in Christ would be very shallow.” What did she mean by that?
•    Would you join Miriam in praying that her brother and parents will come to know Jesus?


A Fighter Sees a Vision

Christians all over the world are praying for radical Muslims to learn and understand the truth about Jesus. A previous post told about an ISIS fighter who searched for a Bible after he grew tired of violence. Read about another ISIS fighter below.

Suddenly and without warning, one day an ISIS fighter in Syria had a vision of a cross. He was not pleased. Muslims believe that Jesus was just a prophet and not the Son of God. They don’t believe that Jesus died on a cross. They know that the cross is an important symbol to Christians.

“What’s wrong with me?” the ISIS fighter wondered after his vision. He began searching the Internet for a Muslim site to help him strengthen his faith in Muslim teachings.

But instead, he stumbled onto a Christian site! As he read the site, he grew more and more interested. He began to doubt his own faith.

The fighter left Syria and went to Turkey where he met a Christian who explained Christianity to him. The ISIS fighter became a Christian.

(Source: VOMRadio.net. Edited for length, clarity, and age-appropriateness.)

To Talk About
What might have happened if the Christian in Turkey were not able to explain Christianity to the ISIS fighter? What would you say if a Muslim asked you to explain your Christian faith?


Maggie: Assyrian Refugee

Syrian refugee girls

Many people in Syria have left their homes to live in safer places. VOM workers visited Syrian refugees in Lebanon and met Maggie, a 12-year-old girl.

Maggie was helping her mother make coffee one day, and she accidentally burned her leg. Her parents had no money to take her to the hospital. They were embarrassed because they could not get her the help she needed.

One of the VOM workers who discovered Maggie’s situation said, “We went to the emergency room and found a doctor who had a merciful heart.” The doctor agreed to let the workers pay less than the usual fee for Maggie’s care. “We shared with him then about Christ, and he was open to a short conversation,” said the worker.

“We went back home, and Maggie was relieved from her pain,” the worker continued. “We followed up with the family for a week to make sure Maggie was recovering. During that week we shared with the family about Christ. The mother was really touched that they saw the love of Christ through our actions.”

To Talk About
•    Maggie came from an Assyrian family. Assyrians have experienced persecution for many years because enemies have associated Assyrians with Christianity. But some Assyrians are no longer serious about their Christian faith.  How did the VOM workers help Maggie’s family think more about Jesus and His love for them?
•    What are some other ways Christians can encourage each other in their faith?


Syria: The Attack That Didn’t Happen

Syrian city after an attack

In Syria, Muslim terrorists have attacked and bombed homes, churches, and entire cities. Read the story below, told last year by a Syrian pastor. The story is about an attack that didn’t happen.

God is working in a mighty way in Syria. We have a special protection from the Lord.

One day, terrorists announced on Facebook that they wanted to attack Damascus [the capital of Syria].  They said about 30,000 of them were ready to attack as soon as they finished Friday prayers at 1 p.m.

It was a very terrible day in Damascus. We woke up very early and prayed and fasted until noon. It was a sunny, June day.

At 1 p.m., thousands of Muslims entered they mosque and started to pray. [A mosque is a building where Muslims worship.] Suddenly the weather changed from sunny to cloudy, in one minute. They finished praying at 1:15. They went out into the street shouting and started walking toward Damascus.

Then it started raining — not just raining, but hailing huge hailstones. It was the first time that had happened in Syria in many, many years.

After 15 minutes, no one was left in the streets. All of them ran away. Even the TV station took a picture of the hail and showed it on the evening news, saying, “God fought with us.”

Many Christians in Syria right now are choosing to stay, and it’s difficult. You can stand beside us through prayer.