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Syria: Ziyad and the Druze

Ziyad grew up in Syria. His family followed the Druze religion. But Ziyad left the Druze faith to become a Christian.

Read below about the Druze to better understand why Ziyad suffered persecution after he decided to follow Christ.

The Druze
The Druze broke away from Islam, the religion of Muslims, many centuries ago. Druze people gather for religious meetings on Thursdays instead of on Fridays, like Muslims, or on Sundays, like most Christians. They have many secrets, and only a few Druze know all the secrets.

No one is allowed to become a Druze if they were not born into a Druze family. And followers of Druze teachings are not allowed to leave the faith. Strong families and a strong Druze community encourage members not to explore other religions.

The Druze do not permit marriages to non-Druze people. To obey the rules, sometimes they marry people they do not love.

The Druze believe in reincarnation — the belief that people who die may return to life in other bodies.

(Source: Bold Believers in Syria, available in the free Downloads section.)

Ziyad
Five years ago, Ziyad placed his faith in Christ. His family immediately kicked him out of their house. He has been beaten, imprisoned, and even kidnapped for sharing his faith with others. People have insulted him on social media. Please ask God to protect him and provide for his daily needs.

(Source: icommittopray.com)


A Bible-Smuggling Donkey

Some Christians in Syria had a problem. Many Muslims in their area were leaving their religion, Islam, and following Jesus. But that wasn’t the problem; that was wonderful news! The problem was that the new believers did not have Bibles to help them learn more about their new faith. Bibles were hard to get in their country.

So the Christians texted someone in a nearby country where it was easier to find Bibles. “Can you get us more Bibles?” they texted.

“How many?” the man asked. “We need 200 Bibles,” they replied.

The handler loaded his donkey with the 200 Bibles and walked to the border between his country and Syria. But armed guards refused to let them cross the border. The handler led the donkey to another place along the border where the guards could not see them. The donkey knew the path into Syria. On its last trip across the border with its handler, it had been rewarded with a candy bar for making the trip successfully.

So the handler decided to risk letting the donkey cross the border alone. Donkeys were often used as pack animals in the area, so no one would be suspicious of a lone donkey. The handler prayed that the donkey would stay on the mile-long path.

Soon he got another text message. The donkey had made it safely to the Christians! Now more than 200 additional Christians and their families can read God’s Word.

“It’s the most unique Bible smuggling story I’ve heard,” a VOM worker said.

(Source: VOM workers and contacts. Edited for length, clarity, reading level, and security.)

Note: Christians residing in restricted nations are often denied access to Bibles. VOM’s “Bibles to Captive Nations” fund helps print and smuggle Bibles to believers—in their own language—who would otherwise live their lives without ever reading the word of God.

To Talk About
*How many Bibles are in your house? Where did they come from? Was it dangerous to get them to your house?
*Do you think the new Christians in the story read their Bibles often? Do you suppose the Bibles are more special to them because they were difficult to get?


Sunday School Around the World: Lebanon

Syrian dad 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.)