Ten years ago, Syria was the safest nation to live in the Middle East as a christian. 1.8 million Christians enjoyed relative peace and tranquillity living in Syria, that was until the Arab Spring moved through the Middle East with its promise of freedom from tyranny.
Instead ISIS came and brought with it so much persecution that Syria became the worst place to live as a Christian.
One million Christians fled Syria as the country was bombed to complete devastation, millions made homeless, jobless and with little hope for the future.
Then came covid 19.
Today’s video clip is about Pastor George who has stood with his congregation in Qamishli, Syria, through years of war, bombing and persecution. Coronavirus is a new, invisible threat meaning many are jobless, hungry and desperate.
God has a mission for us during lockdown.
Although the war was so awful, God turned ashes into beauty – a lot of people came to Christ.Pastor George
How did this happen?
The church concentrated on three things in lockdown,
- Acts of compassion,
- and a Vision to show all Syrians the love of Christ.
Pastor George wrote
Members left but, of course, God did not leave us. A lot of people accepted Christ and were added to the church. The war made people from a Muslim background question their faith. When the church started visiting them, they began to understand about God’s love. We show them that God is love and that God loves people. Some came to faith and they now come to church.”Pastor George
About 30 per cent of Pastor George’s current church, are Christians who have converted from Islam. They are among the most vulnerable to persecution.
When a Muslim becomes a believer, of course they are persecuted. They face persecution from their family, because Islam forbids a Muslim to become a Christian. It even says that a person should be killed.”Pastor George
These Christians from Muslim backgrounds are well aware of the dangers, but still choose Jesus.
Pastor George continues:
They are not afraid to be killed. A lot of them openly declared their faith, though they knew they might lose their inheritance, their properties, they might be threatened. And it isn’t just threats. Some were beaten because of their faith. Persecution leads to believers who abide more in God. They are ready to die for Jesus.
How about us today in Halifax?
What is God’s mission for us in lockdown?
Who are we praying for to find hope and salvation in Jesus?
There are many outside our Christian family that are looking for hope during lockdown.
Are we reaching out to them with acts of compassion demonstrating the love of Jesus giving them hope.
Now is our time to grow church too, that’s our God given mission.