It is difficult to summarize adequately the human toll of the three-year civil conflict in Syria. Families have been torn apart; family routines have been disrupted; schooling has had to be put on hold; children are having to learn to cope with the atrocities of war—or simply to grow up far too soon.
The numbers are overwhelming: the estimate of lives lost has risen to more than 140,000—which includes more than 10,000 children; more than nine million people inside Syria have been displaced; another 2.5 million have crossed into neighboring countries—including as many as 1.2 million children; by the end of January 2014, more than 37,000 Syrian babies had begun life as refugees.
One place Syrians are seeking refuge is southern Lebanon, and Lutheran Hour Ministries’ Middle East ministry center has been reaching out to as many as possible with Gospel-fueled compassion. During February, workers from the Beirut-based LHM center visited displaced Syrians in two Lebanese communities.
In early February, a group of LHM—Lebanon volunteers led by Mohammad Yamout traveled about 50 miles south of Beirut to a refugee center in the coastal city of Tyre. The volunteers brought food, Bibles, Lutheran Hour Ministries materials, and a Gospel message of comfort and hope to the Syrian families there, most of whom are Muslims. “We pray,” says LHM—Lebanon Director Fadi Khairallah, “that the Word of God works in the heart of everyone who attended and leads them to salvation through Christ.”
Later in February, LHM—Lebanon’s Katia Sahyouni visited Syrian refugee children at a center in the town of Naaba. Katia showed the Puzzle Club Pet-Napping Mystery video, taught the children Christian songs and talked about God’s love for us through Jesus. Each child who attended was also given a story book.
“By taking care of the physical and spiritual needs of the Syrian refugees in our country,” says Fadi Khairallah, “we aim to reflect the love of God through Christ and to open the door to the Holy Spirit to change their lives.” We invite our readers to pray for the nation of Syria and for everyone whose life has been impacted by the violence there; please pray also for the work of Lutheran Hour Ministries—Lebanon among Syrian refugees.
Lutheran Hour Ministries—Lebanon is known locally as Middle East Lutheran Ministry (MELM). To learn more about the center’s work in the region, visit lhmlebanon.wordpress.com.