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Sunday School Around the World: Lebanon

Syrian father and son

“Two million people have had to leave Syria. A third of the population of Syria have had to leave their homes.”— A Christian who works in Muslim countries

Muslims and Christians in Syria have been forced to leave their homes and live as refugees in other countries. Radical, violent Muslims have attacked cities in Syria, and the cities are no longer safe places to live.

Many refugees now live in Lebanon. They find shelter in tents, broken down buildings, and in fields. Their lives are difficult. Churches in Lebanon try to help the refugees. But their kindness is causing some interesting problems. Muslims are coming to the churches! The Muslims are thankful for the Christians’ help.

One church with 200 members now has 400 people who attend church services because of all the new Syrian Muslims. But “the refugees don’t know how to behave in church. The kids are messing up the Sunday school,” said a Christian.

“God has ruined my church,” the pastor said. But the pastor was joking. He is really very happy that Muslims are hearing the truth about God and Jesus in his church.

Ask God to help Christians continue to help refugees who come to their country and their church.

(Source: VOMRadio.net. Edited and paraphrased from the original for clarity and length.)

To Talk About
Do you ever have members or visitors who do not behave when they come to your church? How do you act toward the ones who misbehave? Do you pray for them? Do you hope they come back to church?


Sunday School Around the World: Syria

After a war started in Syria, Christians began to feel more fearful about their safety. Many left the country. Radical Muslims have kidnapped Christians and raided churches.

The photo above shows the Sunday school classroom in a Syrian church that was attacked and destroyed.

A Syrian leader has asked Christians around the world to pray that the Lord will encourage Christians in Syria so they can be a living testimony to others around them in the midst of war.

Learn more about Christians in Syria in Bold Believers in Syria, available free in the Downloads section.


Scary Visitor; Good Visitor

Refugee boys

Eight-year-old Yana lived in a very crowded apartment. Five adults, including Yana’s parents, and 14 other children lived in the tiny one-bedroom home in Jordan.

Yana and her family used to live in Syria, but soldiers burned down their home and forced them to flee the country. Many people, both Muslims and Christians, are homeless because of a war in Syria. Yana and her family were Muslims.

Visitors sometimes came to see Yana and the other refugees. (A refugee is someone who flees from one place to live in a safer place.) One day a strange visitor arrived. The man was a Muslim leader from Saudi Arabia. He acted like he wanted to help Yana’s family, and he gave them some dates to eat. But then he offered to buy Yana! Of course, Yana’s mom and dad refused to sell their child!

Thankfully they had another visitor. A VOM contact began to visit them regularly and to tell them about Jesus. Yana’s family had already been thinking about Islam and wondering if it was the truth. After they learned more about Jesus, they decided to trust in Him as their Savior.

“I found the way,” Yana’s mother said. “I had a big burden on me, but now I am free. When I first arrived in Jordan, I hated almost everyone, but now I am starting to love the people around me. Now I can forgive people, and I feel that my sins have been forgiven.”

(To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed. Some of the quotes and stories have been edited and paraphrased from the original sources for clarity.)


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?