Christians in Jordan and Lebanon Embrace Syrian Refugees Despite Opposition

By Christian Newswire
SWINDON, England,—The Christian community in Jordan and Lebanon has become a key source of practical and emotional support for thousands of Syrians who have lost everything.

When Syrian refugees started pouring into Jordan three years ago, heading for the border town of Mafraq, the Bible Society of Jordan and a local church were among the first organisations to spring into action.

“More and more Syrians are fleeing here in fear for their lives,” noted Munther Al-Namat, who leads the Bible Society of Jordan. “They need help, love and care.”

And that’s just what a team from the Bible Society and local churches has been offering, despite opposition from some radical Muslim groups. It helps those not in UNHCR’s Al Zaatri camp find somewhere to live, and it provides monthly aid packages for 500 Syrian families who have little or no other means of support.

“The Lord sent you to me,” Faraj, a former art teacher, told the Bible Society. Thanks to help from Christians in Mafraq, he and his family are renting a two-roomed house and have mattresses to sleep on and food to eat. He has been deeply moved by the friendship and help offered by Christians.

The Bible Society also offers trauma healing training to church volunteers to help them give appropriate emotional support to the refugees they visit. Their support has made a big difference to many refugees.

“Whenever I feel down I go to the church to talk to people there,” says Awatef. “It brings me such relief. Sometimes I just go there to sit by myself and cry and talk to God.”

Churches also host special women’s groups, dinner activities and children’s play groups, all of which help the refugees feel part of a community.

“Thousands of refugees have almost daily contact with Christians,” notes Mr Al-Namat, “and they are experiencing the love that has been planted in our hearts by our faith.”

In Lebanon, the Bible Society is providing aid for around 3,000 Syrian families – some in camps and others in very poor suburbs of Beirut.

“They are so grateful for the help,” says Lebanon Bible Society General Secretary Mike Bassous. “During a recent aid distribution in a camp the refugees started singing to us.

“But it’s not always easy – in another camp our volunteers were attacked by some religious leaders. The refugees told them to leave the Christians alone because they were helping. They told our team, ‘Please come back. You’re always welcome here.’

“Please pray as we reach out to show God’s love to Syrian refugees who have suffered so much.”