By Dr. Mary Mikhael*
As early as the first week of January our great partners and friend began to visit our Church and its ministries.
Indeed despite lack of certainty, and expectations of changes in plans, and sometimes surprises, our partners do not hesitate taking risk and visit us. We praise God for all those who have been with us on the journey of faith, their commitment encourages us much.
Women and children are those most affected by the state of being refugees. There they are denied the normal environment of a home living. However, as many of you know, concern for children has been urgent for children in the camps of Lebanon.
The National Evangelical Synod in Syria and Lebanon (NESSL) started the ministry with camps children in February 2016. Now in the beginning of 2018, the number of children is 650. (The number goes up and down depending on those who get winter sickness).
Indeed rescuing children from getting lost on the streets is a ministry that pleases the heart of the Child, Lord, of Bethlehem who said, "Let the children come to me ....for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.." (Math.19:14)
In the following I would like to quote some of the pastors from Syria.
"Despite the destruction all around us we have felt that the Emmanuel, [God's] real presence was with us."
"'How can we go outside the Church to Serve?' we asked! Our schools have children and youth who could have been recruited for fighting, we were able to help educate and help in every way."
"We partnered with non-Christians to serve and reach out to many in need."
"Our Church services and activities continued in the darkest of days, because of God's help."
"We praise God for all the partners who helped us educate camps children, students in Syria, and continue our relief ministries among many families."
Our needs are countless, not the least to reach out to sick people in need of medications, to help with home renovation, to renew worn out Church furniture, provide fuel for heating, electricity, water, and all basic needs for many.
One great need that NESSL urgently has is that of helping to nurture spirituality and faithfulness in women and youth. NESSL holds in Lebanon spiritual conferences once of twice a year for women and youth from both Lebanon and Syria. As the Syrian women and youth feel the need to get out for a while, fellowship with each other and with the Lebanese women and youth, NESSL found that the largest numbers come from Syria. Understanding the need to help with the cost of transportation--- that has become a real burden, as we want to help as many groups to come for few days to a week and get refreshed and strengthen.
Cost of those group has become a burden for NESSL for which we appeal for special help in that area. Yes this is above all our relief and educational projects. So please HELP!
To God be the Glory who sets apart so many Churches and partners to reach out and help families affected by excessive violence in Syria now for over seven years. So many partners have not been mentioned by name for whom we praise God.
*Dr. Mary Mikhael is a staffperson for the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, the immediate past president of the Near East School of Theology, and a former member of the Common Global Ministries Board of Directors.