Middle East

Persecuted for Sharing Good News? The Risk is Real.

You may have read in one of Lutheran Hour Ministries’ resources that the staff and volunteers at LHM’s international ministry centers often share the Gospel at great personal risk. Zahra’s story demonstrates how true that is….

The ancient city of Aleppo in northwestern Syria has become a battleground in the conflict between the Syrian government and militant opposition groups. Many thousands of Syria’s citizens have fled north and sought refuge in Turkey; but thousands more displaced persons stop at Aleppo in their efforts to escape the violence further south.

Zahra* lives in northeastern Syria and serves as a ministry volunteer for Lutheran Hour Ministries—Lebanon. Last summer she and a friend traveled west to Aleppo to reach out with God’s love to the people in a community of refugees.

Not everyone welcomed their Christian witness. While Zahra and her friend were telling a Bible story to a group of children, several men burst in and beat both of them severely. One blow dislocated one of Zahra’s vertebrae, damaging her spinal cord, and she lost consciousness. Zahra’s friend was killed. Believing both to be dead, their attackers dragged them into the street and threw them down beside a trash barrel.

But Zahra regained consciousness and was rushed to a medical center for treatment.

“Glory be to God!” wrote Lebanon Director Fadi Khairallah, who now reports that Zahra is recovering. “Zahra’s back healed quickly,” he says, “but it might be some time before she regains full use of her right hand, which was also injured.

“But she never ceases to serve the Lord!” Fadi adds. “Zahra has been visiting schools!”

—not in Aleppo, but back in her home town, where she has been undergoing rehab. One photo she sent to the ministry center shows her, bandaged wrist and all, seated among a group of children who are proudly displaying Bible story booklets that she provided for them. The message imprinted on her Lutheran Hour Ministries tee shirt boldly proclaims the reason for her courageous return: Jesus loves me.

Please join Lutheran Hour Ministries in prayer for the staff and volunteers in our ministry centers around the world who often risk their own safety to share the Gospel. To learn how you can partner with Lutheran Hour Ministries—Lebanon or one of our other ministry centers in more than 30 countries, visit www.lhm.org/partner.

*For Zahra’s protection, we have not used her real name or published photos of her.

—From the January/February 2013 issue of The Lutheran Layman, www.lhm.org/layman.

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