Local Missionaries in Syria
Nine years of civil war followed by the spread of novel coronavirus infections have ravaged the country. The middle classes that began vanishing after protests in 2011 turned into civil war have been cast into poverty as COVID-19 spread, shutting down the already reeling economy and bringing widespread hunger and desperation.
Damages and atrocities by Islamic extremist factions in the civil war hardened many people against Islam in a country that is nearly 90 percent Muslim, and local missionaries have been able to bring hope in Christ to thousands. The growth of evangelical Christianity is spreading at a swift 4.2 percent per year, higher than the global average of 2.6 percent.
A local ministry requests assistance to cover the living expenses of its workers as they strive to help meet immense needs amid an unprecedented opportunity to share the gospel. Assistance is also sought to purchase Bibles and gospel CDs loaded with biblical stories and teachings for local missionaries to distribute to seekers and new Christians.
When possible as coronavirus concerns wane, about 1,000 children will resume attending regular events where they enjoy Christian fellowship and learn about Christ’s salvation. The ministry needs to train additional leaders and teams to keep up with demand. Workers also request assistance to provide children’s ministry starter kits to displaced Christians raised in Muslim homes who are returning to their homes as local missionaries.
Sources: Joshua Project, Wikipedia
How to Pray for
- Pray that local missionaries and those they are serving will find the resources they need to survive amid an economy ruined by COVID-19.
- Pray Muslims putting their faith in Christ will find fellowship amid times that make it difficult to gather, and that they will be protected from fierce opposition.
- Pray that more volunteers and leaders will be trained as children’s outreaches and other ministries resume.
More stories from Syria
Two indigenous families in rural Mexico had no inkling of God’s existence until they heard audio recordings of the Gospel of Mark in their tribal language. “When listening to our audios in their language, something changed in them,” the leader of a native ministry said. “These families have changed their way of being and thinking.” The two families recently put their faith in Christ and have begun attending church services.
Muslims who hear the gospel from native Christian workers count a great cost before deciding to accept Him – their safety, health and ability to make a living are at risk in the face of opposition from family and neighbors. Already facing severe difficulties from an economy ravaged by war, they risk losing the social net that keeps them alive.
A Syrian refugee mother in Jordan had no money to treat debilitating illness, much less her children’s schooling, and they asked her why they couldn’t learn to read and write like other kids. Bombings had driven the family of nine from Syria, but not before dust and other pollutants of war had exacerbated her asthma.
“My condition continued to worsen as I suffered severe chest pains and struggled to breathe,” Rojda* said.
Her face riddled with anxiety, a Muslim woman told members of a Bible study group in Syria that her son had a high fever, and that she could not afford any medical care. She had heard that the Christians prayed, and she asked if they would pray for her son. “You know that we pray to Jesus, right?” the group leader said.
In a country in economic shambles from war, workers providing aid and emotional support have many opportunities to share Christ. A Muslim woman who regularly visited a home fellowship often disturbed services, but then one evening she admitted she was in spiritual bondage and needed prayer.
In spite of intense pressures and conflict, native workers have continued bringing compassion, hope and encouragement to people who have never heard about Christ as well as to those who are suffering for following Him. Workers have numerous opportunities to answer the questions of both new disciples and people who are considering becoming Christians.