As the violence continues in Syria and as ISIS moves closer to taking more territory, Christian workers in the war-torn country face a dilemma: stay or flee.
A pastor in Syria has moved three times trying to flee the violence. His last move was to Sweida, which borders Jordan on the south. But a few weeks ago, car bombings in the once serene city killed and injured dozens.
Amie Cotton with Christian Aid Mission, an organization helping Christian workers in Syria, says this pastor must decide once again whether to stay or flee.
"He's in a predicament where he's trying to ... evaluate the risk of staying to disciple the converts who are coming to Christ – most of them are not from a Christian background or know much about the gospel – or to protect his family and move out country," she explains.
The pastor – whose name is withheld for security reasons – has told Christian Aid that through his conversations with Christians in Sweida, he's learned that 80 percent of them want to leave. "But there are two things that keep them here," he said: "First, most don't have the ability to leave financially. Secondly, where would they go?"
Cotton asks for prayers for this pastor and for other missionaries who have already decided to stay because they are witnessing a move of the Holy Spirit.
"[They] are seeing people come to Christ in a way that they've been praying for for years – and so they see that opportunity and they are trusting God in faith," states the ministry representative. "And also [be praying] that God would hold his hand against ISIS [so] they will not be able to infiltrate those cities."
Christian Aid has created an evacuation fund to have resources ready when indigenous missionaries need to move quickly.