In Deraa, Syria, Shemkha had a farm where her family grew tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplants. “We built our house there. We had everything,” Shemkha says. “But now we have nothing.”
Shemkha, is 57, but her weathered face appears older under her black and white headscarf. All her front teeth are missing, smashed out by armed men “when they arrested my four sons” for no apparent reason, she says.
She now lives with two of her sons, their wives and seven children in a small, dilapidated house in a village in northern Jordan. The third son disappeared and she has not heard from him since. The fourth died, she was told.
“My heart is broken,” she says. “I don’t know what happened to him. Did he die from torture? I know what they do to people in prison. My sons told me they were tortured. They are still psychologically affected by what they went through.”
After her sons returned from prison in 2012, Shemkha says the family decided to flee to Jordan. At first, they took shelter at the Zaatari refugee camp, but after four months, the circumstances were so bad that they opted to leave again.
“It was hell. The camp was very dirty; there was this terrible smell,” Shemkha says. “At night, it was freezing cold. There were rats and snakes; there was hardly any water. Women and men had to use the same bathrooms, and this is very dangerous for women.”
After they left Zaatari, the family spent two years moving from one house to another until landing in this sleepy village near the city of Irbid. The World Food Programme gives them $140 each month and they have additional assistance through an NGO, but with 12 mouths to feed and an additional $180 owing in monthly rent, it has become increasingly difficult to survive.
“Our situation is very difficult. If one of us gets sick, we can’t afford to buy medication. I try to be as strong as I can, but it worries me so much.”
- Pray for refugees such as this family, struggling to survive, often unable to find work and grieving for lost family members and homes. Pray that they will come to know the comforting love, healing and hope that is found in Christ Jesus.
- Pray for countries surrounding Syria who are overwhelmed with the numbers of refugees. Pray that they will continue to show compassion and allow refugees safe haven within their countries.
- Pray for the churches in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey who are reaching out to the refugees and helping in the refugee camps. Pray for the love of Christ to flow through His people and flood these camps with grace, compassion healing and hope. Pray that many will come to know Christ through the witness of these believers.
- Pray for peace in Syria, and for a hope and a future for this nation and her people.
Proverbs 31 vs 8 – 9: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.“