PROJECT ROSE

PROJECT ROSE

“If Syria is a garden of flowers, then the church is the rose.  The fragrance of which is reaching even those in government.” – Pastor in Aleppo

On 15 March 2011, major unrest erupted across the streets of Deraa, Damascus and Aleppo, with protesters demanding democratic reforms and the release of political prisoners.  Today, ten years later, the war has displaced millions, killed hundreds of thousands and pushed almost 80 percent of the country below the poverty line.

We simply cannot ignore one of the greatest human catastrophes of our generation and one of the most divine opportunities from a Christian perspective

NUMBERS

  • 593,000 – The latest death toll according to The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor
  • 11 million – People currently needing humanitarian assistance
  • 6 million – Internally displaced people – 30% of the pre-war population
  • 5.5 million – Refugees living in neighbouring countries 25% of the pre-war population
  • 80 percent – Of the country living below the poverty line, according to the Red Cross.
  • 9.3 million – Syrians are food-insecure, facing the possibility of starvation
  • 4.5 million – children are going hungry in the country.
  • One third – of all the refugees around the world are Syrian

But, statistics don’t bleed.  There is a human soul behind every number and Christ calls us to be the difference that millions are praying for

I WAS HUNGRY…

Matthew 25:34 – 36. Then the King will say to the people on his right, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father! Come and possess the kingdom which has been prepared for you ever since the creation of the world.  I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me.’

When we read the statistics and a sense of anguish overwhelms us, and we find ourselves at a loss of words, we can find comfort in the knowledge that the same burden exists in the heart of Christ as well, the Father of all compassion and the God of comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3)

We live in a time such as this.

Syria has become a political soccer ball where nation after nation is trying to score political goals with no or little regard for the millions who are facing the brutal prospect of starvation.  Syria, oh Syria, has God forsaken you too?

The answer lies in Matthew 25:34-36, a call by Christ for the Church to be an extension of His anguish.  No, God has not forsaken Syria!  His church will rise and reach out to her in her hour of need.  And, make no mistake, Matthew 25 provides a glimpse into Syria and describes the people of this troubled nation “To a T”.  So…

IF YOU DESIRE TO FEED THE HUNGRY, SYRIA presents and empty storehouse, waiting to be filled by brothers and sisters who are willing to respond with love and care.

The United Nations World Food Program[1] warned that if Syria does not receive immediate assistance, the nation will face an unprecedented famine or another mass exodus. More than 80 percent of the country’s population currently lives under the breadline and half of the population goes hungry to bed at night. The agency predicts that, if no help arrives, A MILLION PEOPLE are about to die of hunger.

IF YOU DESIRE TO COMFORT THOSE THAT WEEP, SYRIA will welcome hearts of anguish. Since the Syrian civil war officially began on 15 March 2011, families have suffered under a brutal conflict that has killed an estimate 593,000 people,  Based on Syria’s pre-war population of 20.8 million (2011), this represents approximately 3% of Syria’s pre-war population.

Now, after 10 years, the Syrian refugee crisis is the largest refugee and displacement crisis of our time.  The United Nations (UN) identified 13.5 million (2016) as displaced persons, requiring humanitarian assistance.  This represents more than 60% of the pre-war population of 20.8 million.

Add to these numbers the recent fighting in IDLIB where well over 900,000 people have been displaced since December 2019.

But not only have the Syrian people endured the injustice of a brutal 10-year war, but also the health challenges of Covid-19 and the new economic pressures of US sanctions.

IF YOU DESIRE TO ENCOURAGE THE DISHEARTED, SYRIA opens her heart to prayer like no other nation on earth today.  During our visit to Syria last year we travelled through more than 70 military checkpoints from the Lebanese border up to Aleppo.  At one of the stops outside Aleppo, one of the soldiers approached our driver (one of the local Church leaders) and as he looked into the car and saw that we were Christians, he immediately asked for prayer.  Our host prayed for him and just as we pulled away, the soldier abruptly stopped the car again and simply said: “One more prayer, please”

If you have prayed for Syria before – “one more prayer, please”.  If you have given before – “one more time, please.” This is the heart cry of Syrians

IF YOU DESIRE TO SUPPORT THAT PART OF THE BODY THAT SUFFERS THE PRESSURES OF PERSECUTION, WAR AND FAMINE, SYRIA calls the global church to unified action – strengthen that which remains and is at the point of death (Revelation 2:10)

We had the joy of visiting Rev.Ibrahim, the head of the Presbyterian Church in Aleppo. Rev.Ibrahim explained that even though the Christian population has decreased by more than 90% in Aleppo due to the war, their Church has increased from 60 people to 200 people who attend their services – of which only 10 are Presbyterian.  He then explained it as follows: “If Syria is a garden of flowers, then the church is the rose.  The fragrance of which is reaching even those in government.”

BUT MOST OF ALL,  IF YOU DESIRE TO INVEST IN THE KINGDOM, SYRIA offers a harvest of souls.  Many Syrians who have lost hope during the war are finding hope in Christ.  There is a harvest of souls that is unprecedented in the Middle East and God is calling His church to share in the harvest.

During our visit to Syria, we were deeply inspired by the Christians we met.  During a decade of war, we discovered an indestructible, infectious, and influential Church.  The one pastor, living in the heat of the warzone, explained to us that they first prayed fervently that the war would stop.  “But,” she concluded “today we pray that the Lord will fulfil his purposes through us and that the Lord will use us as His servants in the midst of the war.

The one young Syrian girl told us:  “I have lost everything during the war.  But if it wasn’t for the war, I would never have known Jesus.  And now that I know Jesus, I have all I need”

This is a season not to be missed and it is not only our duty but our delight and privilege to partner with local believers in their endeavours to be light and salt in a very very dark time.   The words of Christ to “behold the harvest (Luke 2:10) and become fellow labourers in a season of harvest is not a COMMISSION, it is a CO-MISSION, an invitation to be a partner in what He is doing

But the harvest does not wait for the harvesters to enter.  There is a time constraint that needs to be observed.  It is now or never.  In this regard, the added sanctions from the West will severely impact the activities of the local Church in a negative way.

We have been in touch with our friends in Syria and most of the support from outside Syria are starting to dry up.  The Church in Syria weeps – not because they are suffering but because they cannot continue to be a source of life within their communities.  A Pastor from Damascus recently said, “Lately, in these last weeks, we began to see in the streets homeless children searching for food, this thing wasn’t before in our country even in wartime since in the previous years”.

We, therefore, at dia-LOGOS decided to launch a project to raise funds for the Church in Syria.  We have already established lasting relationships with 12 local Church leaders in 8 different regions in Syria, and we are trusting the Lord to divide the funds that come in between these leaders.  We will be partnering with a church in Lebanon to personally deliver the money on behalf of our friends and supporters like you.

Friends, there are no agendas behind this initiative, not political, not religious, not financial.  We simply want to vessels of compassion.  Would you prayerfully consider joining hands with us in one of the following ways?

BEING A VOICE:  We need friends who will ‘champion’ this project and who will be willing to be a spokesperson on behalf of Syrian believers.  If every friend can tell two other friends about the project, then we can have a far greater impact in the lives of those who receive, as well as the lives of those who give.

MAKING A CONTRIBUTION:  We need FUNDS – as much as possible.  We want to plant as many seeds as possible on your behalf.  This is a unique opportunity for the Church in Syria to impact the region with love and generosity.  It is now or never.  The soil is ready, the labourers are there but the seed bags are empty.

OFFERING PRAYERS:  This is the Lord’s work, not ours.  There is a battle raging for souls, and we cannot do it without your prayers.  Thank you that we can count on you.

To make a donation (via PAYPAL for international or PAYFAST for South African) please click here to go to the donate page:

Alternatively use the following account:

 

[1]
https://insight.wfp.org/world-food-programme-the-needs-in-syria-have-never-been-greater-5443884af896

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/3/15/syria-ten-years-of-war

 

 

 

 

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