Thursday, October 16, 2014

Messianic Jews, Christian Arabs Reach Out To Syrian Refugees

This is a story worth repeating:

A team of Israeli Messianic Jews and Arab Christians have been assisting Syrian war refugees. The group recently visited a church where 219 refugees families (over 700 people) were taking shelter after fleeing from ISIS and other Islamist groups.
“These people lost everything,” says one member of the Israeli group, whose names need to be protected. “They even saw family members murdered or kidnapped.”
The Arab and Jewish team are working together with local Christians who are doing what they can to care for the needs of the multitudes of children who have been devastated by the war. The team brought a large financial gift from the Body of Christ in Israel, Jews and Arabs who wanted to reach out to the Syrians in a practical way.

“We brought milk for children, diapers, jackets, warm clothes, toys and candy; we purchased heaters and blankets, small cooking stoves and cooking pans. What a joy to see the faces of the young ones that walked around barefoot, having lost everything, receiving new sandals,” the team member recalls.
In addition to the practical humanitarian needs, they are also supporting educational opportunities for the multitudes of displaced children, including Bible teachings. “We do not want to pass the pain to our children,” said a local Arab Christian working with the refugees.

Many of the refugees the team has helped are educated people with good professions who lost everything. They told us about Mohammed (not his real name), a successful businessman originally from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.
The Israeli team recounted Mohammed’s own story, which is representative of thousands of Syrian refugees, thus:
"Due to the war, he had to relocate several times during the past 3 years, but eventually had to run for his life with his family to Jordan. While attending a funeral of one of the young men from his village with 3000 people, a missile hit the crowd and Mohammed found himself lying over the dead bodies of 403 people, 15 of them members of his extended family.

"Mohammed, his 4 daughters and 3 sons, a daughter-in-law and several grandsons then walked the cold desert to cross into Jordan, all while facing death threats. [During the journey], some of their number were killed by wild animals. A pregnant woman had to deliver her baby in the freezing cold desert. They burned their jackets to make a fire to keep the new born baby warm. Hope was waning.
Desperately, Mohammed left his family alone in the dark, cold desert and walked for five hours until he reached a Jordanian army border post, which provided assistance bringing his family into the country. A month later, we visited the family and brought them jackets to replace those they had burned. We shared the Gospel with them and prayed for the family.
The team also visited a church that was filled with refugees, reporting:

“They slept in the pews, offices and every available place. The church has rented a wedding hall for the people to live in. What dedicated people that understand what is happening is an opportunity rather then a curse! We were able to help with medications for a medical team that travels and takes care of refugees in different places.”
At one point, several refugees became angry when a team member identified as a Messianic Jew began to speak to them. “But then I saw many people getting touched and crying,” said the Messianic believer. “Many of the people came and said, 'When you first started to share, we wanted to kill you, but now we know that Jesus is real and want to accept Him has our Lord.'”
“I’ve never seen a church full of Muslim women wearing the hijab,”said the Israeli team leader. “We could see the joy in the eyes of frightened children as we ministered to them. We saw hunger for the truth as people started to question Islam.”

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