The presence of the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL) in the Middle East is known for having a spiritual and service-based nature, working eagerly to share the love and justice of God. This can be seen through the Synod’s commitment to being vessels of service and reconciliation. The Synod field of work in Syria and Lebanon includes around 38 churches, 4,000 active members, and more than 20 ordained pastors.
On February 26, 2012, also known as “Black Sunday”, the city of Homs, including a NESSL congregation, was attacked by an armed group, and the church building and many aspects of the community were destroyed. As a result of the attacks on this day, approximately 50,000 Christians in Homs were displaced.
In immediate response to the events of this day and similar acts of violence happening around Syria, NESSL has been responding to provide relief for the refugees and displaced populations in Syria and Lebanon. In 2013, NESSL hired a staff member to coordinate and direct the relief efforts of the Synod. These relief efforts include providing materials to displaced families, such as food, hygiene materials, medicine, and rent assistance. Beginning in 2015, NESSL coordinated and implemented two major projects including providing heat, gas, electricity, and water for families. The second major project implemented in 2015 was the beginning of renovating homes that were destroyed in Homs, so that families could return to their homes. Currently, 44 homes in old Homs are in process of being renovated.
In 2016, NESSL is beginning to expand and continue services to provide long-term solutions for Syrians who are living in the country of Syria. This includes improving access to education and educational materials for 2,000 students, providing fuel and electricity for 1,000 families, assisting with rent costs for 250 families, and providing medical services. These services will be provided through 16 NESSL local churches in Syria, and in addition to the relief work they also provide.