Local churches giving hope to Syrian refugees

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
 | 
Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow.com)

While Syria remains in disarray and many of its people displaced, some not certain from where their next meal is coming, local churches are joining together to meet basic needs.

Within Syria itself, 5.5 million people are displaced, and 80,000 have been killed within the last two years, about half of whom were civilians. An estimated 25 percent of the population has fled the country to Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon with no resources.

But as Jack Shiflett of the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism reports, those individuals are not completely without hope.

"Basically, our partners on the ground there and the groups that we are facilitating are giving food, mattresses, shelter, cooking stoves, blankets -- basic needs just to survive," he details.

And those resources are going to people regardless of whether they are Christian or Muslim. Shiflett recently returned from the region and tells OneNewsNow one of the things that tugs at his heart is that local churches are the ones responding.

"For example, you may have a local church that's 50 or 70 people, and they're working and supporting 800 refugees," the ministry spokesman relays. "And what makes that remarkable is that these are their natural enemies."

But Shiflett has observed firsthand the Spirit of God working in Christians as they show mercy and minister to all.

"Church attendance has quadrupled, and not just from people who are receiving aid," he accounts. "These are people who are no longer receiving aid, so it's a powerful testimony to the living Christ."

Meanwhile, many Christian pastors in Syria are staying in the country and urging other believers to do the same.

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