Being present, visiting Christians where they live and encouraging them in their homes and churches are some of the things that Brother Andrew, the founder of Open Doors, always tried to do. This is still an important part of Open Doors’ work, and recently, they were able to visit Syria:
“I expected to see war scenes on my way to the Syrian capital. The only thing I observed were the many closed roads; it is nearly impossible to get to Damascus. It’s strange to be in Damascus, the capital of the country, a place that shows up daily in the news because of the war. The thing is that everything seems so normal … I don’t see the destruction I had expected to see. The restaurants are full of people who are having a meal or a drink.
The next day, I was able to see the work of Pastor Edward’s church … I went first to the distribution centre. The team there gave me a tour and showed me the items they are packing into parcels to be distributed to the … poor families.
I am touched by a Bible verse hanging over the window that says: ‘The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.’ (Psalm 145:15) I thank the Lord because even though these items are supported by many good Christians around the world, they are actually coming from the Lord Himself. And the volunteers there are aware of this – all glory to God.
One of the first stories that shocked me is the story of a mother. One day, she came to this distribution centre and waited for maybe thirty minutes to get her parcel. On her way out, a bomb fell right in front of the distribution centre and killed her. The workers took me out and showed me where the bomb fell. I stood there and prayed in my heart, asking for the Lord’s protection over the people, the workers and the distribution centre …
… When I visited the families, I saw a lot of sadness and poverty, but at the same time, I felt the joy of the Lord that the churches and our partners were able to put in the hearts of these people. I am visiting for just a few days; for them this is daily reality. They serve knowing that each day could be their last.”
- Give thanks for the work of Open Doors, and many other organisations and churches working to bring hope and relief to the people of Syria.
- Give thanks for the Syrian Church, taking opportunities to reach out to families in need with practical help, and to witness to the goodness, grace and love of God.
- Pray for protection for Christians in Syria, who are often the targets of bombing raids.
- Pray for peace in the nation – for restoration, hope and life for its people once again.
Psalm 146 vs 1 + 5: “Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God, who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.”