by an Alliance worker
Walking the streets of a northern European city recently, I saw refugees everywhere. Listening to their stories of escape from danger and destruction in their homeland was heartbreaking.
Words failed me as I watched a mother anguishing over the news she had just received from her husband in Syria. She had fled a month earlier with her five-year-old daughter because the family only had enough money to send the two of them.
This woman had left behind her husband and four other children to face the brutal war ravaging her country. Now she had word that her three-year-old son had drunk poisoned water and lay dying in a hospital bed.
This mother was dressed in black, already mourning the death of her son. She could not be consoled.
I sat on her bed in her tiny room where four other refugees lived with her in bunks. I listened to her story and shed a few tears of my own, hugged her, and told her that God was watching out for her. He saw her pain, and He loved her so very much.
A few minutes later, a friend called the woman’s home in Syria and got her husband on the line. I heard a small voice say, “Don’t worry, Mom, I’m OK. I got better!” It was the son who had been on his deathbed. Her friends told her to get up, wash her face, and rejoice that her son was alive.
Coming Back to Life
Later that day, as we walked along the street, we met up with a young couple who had a newborn baby. Typically, husbands and wives are separated for months at a time.
We introduced ourselves and listened to their story of escape. (Most refugees describe their ordeal as living through a death experience and coming back to life.) I can’t imagine the trauma these people have gone through!
Think about this young woman, thrown into a rubber raft in the middle of a cold winter’s night, eight months pregnant, with only the clothes on her back, wondering if she would live to see the child she was carrying.
Words are hard to come by in encountering such situations. But we happened to have a New Testament that we offered the man, and he took it with great interest. He said “thank you” several times and kept looking at it and thumbing through the pages. It was as if he could hardly wait to get home and read it.
Sometimes proclaiming comes in the form of words; other times it takes shape in a tearful hug or giving a New Testament to someone who has never seen one before.
Just sitting and allowing a refugee to recount his story to someone who is truly interested and empathetic can also be very healing.
The Most Valuable Treasure
Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Syrian refugees have been crushed in every way—body, soul, and spirit. But there is hope for them if they put their trust in our loving God. This is why we do what we do!
We may not have silver or gold to give them, but we have Jesus—the greatest prize. We will proclaim His love in word and deed to these displaced people who have lost everything. In doing so, may they find the most valuable treasure of all—Jesus Himself.
What You Can Do
Watch the LIFE 2016 offering video that shows how Alliance people are offering tangible hope to Syrian refugee families.
Gifts to the Great Commission Fund will help those devastated by war and disaster.