John Sagherian, Regional Director Middle East North Africa
The civil war in Syria continues with many people being effected: killed, injured, leaving their home, many leaving Syria for the safety of neighboring countries.
At the end of March the villages around Kessab, in the mountains in the north-west corner of Syria, which are mostly inhabited by Armenians, were attacked by insurgents from Turkey. In a few hours all of them had to run away to the coastal city of Latakia and some to Lebanon.
In Lebanon, which has a population of 4.5 million, there are now 1.5 million Syrian refugees (majority Sunni Muslim) which puts an enormous social, security, economic and political burden of the country.
On the positive side, many churches and NGO’s, including Youth for Christ, have reached out to these refugees, providing them with shelter, food, medicine, and when appropriate, presenting them with Christ’s message.
More specifically, Youth for Christ, in partnership with local churches, run outreach clubs, a discipleship program and home visits, participate in trauma retreats, organise outreach events and a summer camp, train Syrian youth workers, provide for some of the refugee families physical needs, distribute Bibles and Christian literature.
This is a great opportunity and there is a sense of urgency to share the gospel with the refugee Muslim teens through creative and non threatening youth programs.