Lane (Nov 3, 2016)
"The children have opened the church's doors, then the women
followed, and finally the men." -A Christian refugee from
News] God's light and love are still shining despite intense fighting
in the Syrian city of Aleppo. (Screengrab via CBN News)
Not all churches have been closed or destroyed as anti-government forces
battle the Syrian army for control of the country's second largest city. At
least one church is reaching out to help war-weary Syrians of all faiths.
According to World Watch Monitor, a Christian woman named Kristina and her
family are now living as refugees in neighboring Lebanon. She tells of how her
home church has lost most of its members.
However, while Christians were forced to flee the violence and live
elsewhere, 10 percent of the church members still remain in the besieged city
and are now serving their neighbors.
"But you know what's surprising? The church is still full; displaced people
take their place. Especially Muslims are coming to the church now," Kristina
Most of the fighting has occurred in the eastern part of Aleppo, in heavy
Muslim concentrated areas. Many Muslims have fled farther to the west and have
sought a safe haven in Christian neighborhoods.
Some Muslim adults come to Kristina's church to attend various activities for
their children, including the reading of Bible stories.
"The Muslims are afraid—especially when entering and leaving the building—but
they are there. The children have opened the church's doors, then the women
followed, and finally the men," Kristina said.
Muslims have witnessed the women of the church helping them, reaching out to
provide encouragement, prayer support, and material relief.
"Many Muslims were genuinely surprised when they met Christian women in our
churches willing to serve them," Kristina explained. "Their image was that all
Christian women spend most of their days dancing in night clubs and drinking
alcohol! Meeting each other was a shock, both for them and for us."
The Christians give them love, respect and treated them with a kindness they
don't usually experience in mosques. Kristina says that approach has caused them
to re-think "the faith they grew up in" and drop "their hostility towards
Facing danger and tragedy from the war, many Muslims—especially women are
receptive to the Gospel message.
Kristina said Muslim women "feel
liberated when they notice the church doesn't see them as merely machines only
fit for cleaning, giving birth to children, and raising them, like many Muslim
"In Islam, many women don't have any rights. When they feel how Christians
really care for them, it feels like Heaven for those women. They see it's
possible to live as independent women, to dream," she explained.
Although they are surrounded by violence and face death down nearly every
Aleppo alleyway, a remnant of bold Christian Believers remain. They have chosen
to stay behind, to be salt and light in a city overcome by darkness and despair.
As a result, God is filling the church with its Muslim neighbors.
And lives are being touched and saved for eternity.