Syria’s worst days are now – and you can help
Social media is full of opinion pieces, personal stories, and clever memes about how to live life in a pandemic. Some tell us it is okay to feel grief or sadness, confusion or emptiness. Others suggest that we should focus on gratitude and treat each day as fresh with new possibilities. Some even negate the negative and tell us to stop complaining as lots of people have it far worse.
Probably all these responses are valid at different times. Here at Bible Society we can assure you that it is much worse for people living in war zones, in poverty, and where medical care is inadequate or perhaps even non-existent.
In a zoom call with our Bible Society colleagues in Syria last week, Nabil described August as the worst month ever in Syria. You might think that’s a big call when you remember this is a country that has been in a civil war for nine years, with some of its historic cities almost destroyed by multiple bombs and many of its population either killed or emigrating due to war.
“We Syrians feel that crisis and trauma never ends. The pandemic makes it worse and worse,”
“We wake up and we have a new crisis. The sanctions are too heavy for our people. Children are starving in the streets. I ask God why. There is no grace in war. It is all that is evil.”
However, in spite of the awful circumstances in which they live, Nabil and National Director George are optimistic for the future, and that optimism comes both from their Christian faith and the impact of the Trauma Healing Projects that are being run in three cities across Syria.
These programs which are sponsored by Bible Society Syria provide a two-pronged approach – Bible based trauma healing for age specific groups and clinical therapy. More and more people are being trained and equipped to run seminars at their own churches.
In the zoom call, Nabil talked of the impact the program is having for children, perhaps the most vulnerable group in this terrible war. The increase in sanctions has led to families unable to feed their children, find work, and manage their lives. There are more children begging on the street, hungry and traumatised.
85 people were recently trained in the children’s trauma healing program and spent some time on a camp with children. They are taught how to encourage children to talk about their pain, how to express their feelings and how to take their pain to the cross.
The Christians in Syria often feel abandoned by their brothers and sisters from around the globe. When asked what Christians can do here in Australia, their response was three pronged: prayer; political pressure and financial support to help them to continue growing these trauma healing programs which are transforming lives.
“We need to stop the war. It is very urgent. And pray that God’s grace will be on Syria and that peace may come,” George said.
Your listeners and readers can help traumatised people find God’s peace which is beyond understanding by giving to our appeal: biblesociety.org.au/trauma
These gifts enable more training courses, more resources and more support to those seriously impacted by trauma. Perhaps this is one small way each of us can make a difference and seek for ourselves God’s peace.
Rev Melissa Lipsett, BSA Chief Operating Officer, is available for interview. Please contact Penny Mulvey ([email protected]) to arrange a mutually convenient time.