The dangers and damages COVID-19 brings to the Middle East mark a desperate time in need of desperate measures – but there are only ordinary Christian workers undertaking overwhelming challenges.
Countries with pandemic-gutted economies are now even less equipped to receive refugees from war-ravaged Syria, but armed conflict and conditions worsened by COVID-19 continue to drive Syrians out. A Syrian refugee arrived at one country in the region having lost his sight after a missile blasted his home.
Local missionaries striving to meet growing needs came across him at the ministry’s aid distribution center. He and his wife said they had fled dangers from Islamic State (ISIS) militants.
“We visited them to check on their situation and added them to our food distribution program,” the ministry leader said. “Later on, they started coming to church and attending most of the meetings. One day after visiting them at home, they were very much touched by the Bible message, and the husband gave his life to Jesus. In his testimony he says, ‘I was blind before, but now because of the love of Christ, I can see.’”
Encouragement amid Despair
Such conversions, increasingly common in the region, hearten local missionaries who are overworked amid staffing shortages and risk exposure to a potentially deadly virus and its variants.
“More and more people are falling into poverty, there is the unresolved situation of refugees, a health sector that is already overstretched and completely weighed down by the COVID-19’s rapid spread, and all of this has brought nothing but grief, sadness and despair,” the leader of a local ministry said. “But we find what is most needed in the midst of all that is to present people with a hope that is ‘out of this world.’ This is our responsibility, this our calling and our mandate. We have done a lot, and there is still plenty to be done.”
In all the food distribution, health care and community development projects, local missionaries present the hope of Christ, he said. Besides delivering 100 boxes of food per month to nationals falling into poverty in their own country, local missionaries also mobilized church youths to pack and drop baskets of food on needy people’s doorsteps.
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SOURCE: Christian Aid Mission