The latest news on Syria comes directly from the refugee camps in the Middle East.
“The crisis is still very difficult and has only gotten worse now that it is winter.”
“The situation is very bad in the camps and surrounding area since some of the people live outside of the camps in fields which are muddy. It is cold and the wind chill makes it worse. The tents don’t protect properly from the extreme wind and heavy rain. The dirt floors have turned to mud which makes it impossible to sleep on.”
“The needs are so huge and what we have is not enough to face and meet this humanitarian crisis. What is critical to remember about the refugees crisis is that they are staying in desert areas and they live in tents which are very difficult to keep warm in the winter or cool in summer.
Gas heaters are needed, but they have to purchase fuel for the heaters and there is no money for that. We do our best to supply canisters of propane with each heater, along with blankets, coats, cooking supplies and cans to store water for drinking and cooking etc.
These are not families who traditionally are looking for a hand out. These are hardworking families who have been forced from their homes because of the tremendous violence. They can’t work legally in the host country. Imagine the situation of a family with the father not working and they are living in a tent with four or six children. They have no resources to purchase the things they need and become desperate for anything they can get to keep their children warm and fed.”
“The city of Aleppo has collapsed and is unrecognizable. There is nothing left of the city that once was home to more than one million people. Almost all of Aleppo’s citizens are homeless. Some of them escaped. Others remain there in horrible conditions. As this is a place of great conflict, neighboring governments perform thorough background checks on the refugees before they are allowed to enter. This slows the process and as a result fewer refugees from Aleppo are able to escape the violence.”
“The refugee families we work with feel our love as we stand with them and face their challenges. We are providing them with supplies for some of their most basic needs – food, water, blankets, coats, propane, cooking utensils, pots and pans, personal care items and more.
Some of them cross the border with injuries and become disabled so we provide them with wheelchairs, crutches, walkers and whatever medical supplies we have available.
We are giving hope.“
“To be honest, based on what we see and deal with on the ground, it is our opinion that the situation will not change very quickly. Research shows that when a group becomes refugees, it takes twelve years before they are stable again. When there is resolution to this crisis, some of the refugees will go back to their homes in Syria regardless of the conditions of their homes and community and they will begin to rebuild. However, most of them will stay and not go back until everything becomes very clear and no threat exists.
Consider Aleppo. What do the tens of thousands of refugees from this city do? There is no place to return. Where is home for these families after the war ends?”
“These moments don’t stop. When you enter the camps near the Syrian border and walk between the tents, you will feel the sadness and see the hopeless faces of people without a dream. You will see their needs written on their clothes, their feet and in the condition of their surroundings.
I will never forget the horrific stories that I have heard.
One family we met told us that they lived in a village in Syria with their father, mother, one son and two daughters. Knowing that groups raid villages and kidnap the boys to fight for them, they helped their son run away from home to a refugee camp. One day some men wearing army cloths came to their house and asked about their son. The father told them that he ran away and didn’t know where he was. In retaliation, they raped his daughters in front of him and then shot him dead.
The mother and two daughters were able to escape to the camps for safety, but because there is no man now in their household there is no one to provide and take care of them. They still have not been able to reconnect with their son.”
“The Syrian refugee crisis is so very huge that you can’t image the amount of hurt and broken families that have resulted. What you see and hear on the news is nothing compared with being there and talking with these broken people. We deal with more than 1.2 million persons who are empty and without hope, walking and moving as if they are without a soul in their body…feeling as if they are living for nothing. When you look in their eyes, they are hollow and empty.”
“The Scriptures say:
“If you give a cup of cold water to someone in need in My name it is as if you gave it to Me and by no means will you lose your reward in Heaven.“
One day, we randomly went to a refugee camp to distribute some clothes, shoes and stuffed animals. We also did face-painting for the kids and made balloon animals and figures for them. You can’t image the look on the children’s faces. They became full of joy, laughter and fun. It is as if – if only for just one moment – you took them out of a world of violence and suffering and brought them into another filled with love and laughter. They were happy even if it was only for those moments and that is how we preach the Gospel of Jesus.”