MCC photo/Emily Loewen
So let us not grow weary in doing what is right…. (Galatians 6:9)
During the seven-year war in Syria, more than 400,000 people have been killed. Of the pre-war Syrian population of about 22 million, 6.1 million have left their homes for other parts of Syria and 5.2 million are refugees in other countries. Sixty-nine percent of the population of Syria lives in extreme poverty.
For a week in February, I, along with others from MCC, visited our partners in Syria. Amidst the rubble and rocket fire, we found an amazingly resilient people, including these young people you see playing a game with me (on the left) and with Rick Cober Bauman, MCC Canada executive director, on the grounds of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Homs. (Read more about this trip in the latest issue of A Common Place.)
Young adults with the Charity Society for Sustainable Development in Damascus are responding to the needs of displaced families and other vulnerable people. In the Qalamoun region, the Islamic Charity of Deir Attieh works with thousands of families affected by war. We met with displaced families who receive food from MCC through the Syrian Orthodox Church in the village of Ayo near Hama. We heard how the food and cash allowances we provide through a Presbyterian church in Homs make a difference.
For seven long years, Christians and others in Syria have continued to share God’s love and compassion with all people. “You have suffered with us and rejoiced with us,” says the Rev. Ibrahim Nseir of the National Presbyterian Church of Aleppo. “And your presence with us today is a sign of hope that God is not far from us.”
If MCC’s partners in Syria are not growing weary of doing good, how can we? Thank you for your continuing support of MCC’s work in Syria and around the world.
Grace and peace to you,
J Ron Byler
MCC U.S. Executive Director