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Syria: Finding What Can’t Be Lost

Abdu

In many countries around the world, dedicated followers of Jesus risk their freedom and lives to practice their faith. Through persecution and struggles, they remain close to their Savior, forgive their enemies, and spread God’s Word.

However, there are other groups of people who are persecuted for being “Christians.” These victims of persecution may have never entered a church. They probably have never owned or read a Bible, or shared the gospel with anyone. And they have not trusted in Christ as their Savior.

But their persecutors don’t care if they are true believers in Christ or not.

Abdu
Abdu was one of those “Christians.” He and his father owned an auto repair shop in Syria. Because of the war that was destroying their homeland, his mother and siblings moved to a safer city. Abdu and his dad stayed behind to protect the shop and the land that had been in their family for almost 100 years.

But then radical Muslims kidnapped Abdu. They considered him to be a Christian because he had a Christian name and Christian ancestors.

Even though Abdu had never been to church, he began to pray when his captors kidnapped him. After 10 days of abuse by the kidnappers, to his surprise, Abdu was suddenly released. He rejoined the rest of his family and escaped from Syria.

Thankfully, in their new home, Abdu began attending church and placed his faith in Christ! Muslims have built a mosque on the family’s property in Syria, and they have lost all their possessions. “Yes, you can lose everything,” said Abdu. “But life in the Lord cannot be lost whatever happens.”

(Source: The August 2019 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine. Edited for length, clarity, and age appropriateness)

To Talk About
Genesis 50:20 says, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good….” How could that verse apply to Abdu’s situation?


This Month: Overcoming Fear

Parents and Teachers

The August 2019 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs magazine tells stories of Christians who have overcome their fear of persecutors and enemies with God’s help and by His grace.

The issue features stories about Christians facing Islamic extremism in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. You can share stories of Christians in these countries from the magazine and this site with your children, then pray together for the people in the stories.

Related Resources
* To subscribe to the free monthly The Voice of the Martyrs magazine, visit the subscription signup page.
*The Voice of the Martyrs Global Prayer Guide includes information about Christians in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt.
*Restricted Nations: Egypt is available at vombooks.com.
*Download Bold Believers activity books for kids that highlight Egypt, Syria, and Iraq here.
*Find a lesson plan for Egypt here.
*Watch video clips about refugees from Syria and Iraq here and here.


Damascus Today

The following information is from Bold Believers in Syria, available in the Downloads section.

“So the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying’ ” (Acts 9:11).

(The verse above is from the story about Saul in the Book of Acts. The Lord was speaking to Ananias. The Judas in the story is not the one who betrayed Jesus.)

Damascus is the capital of Syria. Straight Street is still a street in Damascus today. Visitors can see the street where Saul stayed after his encounter with Jesus on the way to the city. In the Chapel of Saint Ananias in Damascus, Christians can remember the events in Saul’s life. (See the previous post.)

Damascus Rose
The Damascus rose is a flower named after the Syrian city. Oil from the flower is used in perfume and cosmetics.

Damascus Steel
Damascus steel was used to make strong knives and swords. People who made them kept their method a secret. After a while the secret was lost, and no one remembered how to make the knives and swords. Damascus steel was said to be “superplastic,” meaning it would be easily shaped when heated. But it was very strong when it was cool.

Damask Cloth
Damask cloth, named after the city of Damascus, is used for furniture coverings, tablecloths, and sometimes clothing. The cloth is thick and is decorated in distinctive patterns.

The following information is from The Voice of the Martyrs’ Global Prayer Guide. Syrian Christians’ lives have been severely disrupted since the civil war began in 2011. Between 750,000 and 1 million Christians have fled the country. In the same period, many Muslims have come to Christ.

Churches in Syria have been a beacon of hope and a source of peace for Syrians of all backgrounds throughout the war. Syrians come to the church for a number of reasons: out of desperation, in search of food, in search of meaning and truth, and many times with questions about the hope that Syrian Christians have.

The news that neighboring host countries may send Syrian refugees home brings optimism for Syrian believers, because those who came to faith in nearby countries could return and strengthen local churches.


Lebanon: Kids Praying in Jesus’ Name

War in Syria has left many people, both Christians and Muslims, without homes. Some have fled the country for safer places. Christians started a school for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon.

When the school opened a few years ago, non-Christian students covered their ears when the Christians prayed. But now they gladly fold their hands to pray before meals. They ask for protection, clean hearts, and good health.

“Amazingly, these children pray in the name of Jesus,” said a VOM contact. “They actually believe He is the only one who can answer their prayer.”

The Christians are praying that the Syrian children will remain committed to Jesus and will share His love with other Syrians.

(Source: icommittopray.com)

Photo above: At first these children of Syrian refugees refused to pray. The teacher’s eyes are covered to protect her identity from people who may want to harm Christians.

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


Lebanon: An Unusual Bible Club

Violence and war in Syria have forced both Muslims and Christians to leave their homes and live as refugees in other countries. Many of the 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. Each month, Christians in a city in Lebanon teach Bible lessons to about 70 Syrian refugee children and their parents in a Bible club.

Recently, the Christians taught the children Luke 2:40 while their parents were learning the same verse in a parents’ meeting. The children’s Muslim parents know they are studying the Bible, but they don’t mind. In fact, the parents are impressed with the things they are learning from Scripture.

The staff meet regularly for prayer and discipleship with a group of eight boys and five girls after each study. “We would like to thank the Lord for the ministry in the difficult area of our country where we are serving,” said the Bible ministry team leader.

To Talk About
*Read Luke 2:40. Who is the verse telling about?
*Read about Syria here. What does it say about Muslims leaving their religion to become Christians? Do you think it takes courage for a Syrian Muslim to go to a Christian Bible study?
*What does the team leader say about his ministry? Do you think it takes courage for the Bible club leaders to teach Muslims about the Bible? Is there anyone with whom you might be reluctant to share the gospel?