Nazarene neighbors help Syrian refugees
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Damascus, Syria
Since March 2011, violence in Syria has escalated from protests and marches to what many governments and humanitarian organizations are calling a civil war. The death toll reached 19,000 people recently, and in addition to the estimated one million displaced people within Syria, tens of thousands of refugees have fled to neighboring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.

The 800 members of Syria's five Nazarene congregations were praying for their country and government long before this year’s violence began. Four years ago, Nazarenes all over Syria started fasting the first three days of every month for this purpose. They are praying now more than ever for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and for their own safety.

The Church of the Nazarene in Damascus provided basic needs such as food, medicine, mattresses, fans, and diapers, for 350 families who fled from cities like Homs, where intense fighting has taken place. Most of the people coming to the church are Syrian Christians — a group that makes up about 10 percent of Syria’s population.

The Damascus church also runs a 230-student school and an after-school program called Acts of God for 100 Iraqi refugee children who are unable to attend regular school programs because of their refugee status. These children, who fled to Syria for safety before the violence began, are beginning to relive the fear and instability they left in Iraq.

While it is relatively safe to move around Damascus in daylight, it is not so at night. The Damascus church asked for prayer as it is currently mourning the death of one of its members who was murdered last month while running an errand at night. The church addresses refugee needs as best they can, and reports that many families are benefiting from the open prayers and fellowship offered by the church.

This week, Nazarenes in Jordan will partner with other denominations to deliver aid to some of the tens of thousands of Syrian people who have crossed the border. The majority of these refugees are living in tent cities or have found apartments in the northern cities. This need is vast and concentrated, and will likely be ongoing for several months.

“We are doing assessments so that we will deliver exactly what people need,” said a pastor who is heading up the effort to procure aid and volunteers. “We want to share what we have and also give words of comfort, love, and encouragement.

“We know God will make something good out of this bad situation. We have started classes for people to know more about Christ, and many are finding peace and hope in the midst of pain and sorrow.”

In August and September, Nazarene schools in Zarqa and Amman, Jordan, expect to enroll Syrian children — many of whom will be unable to pay the US$500 to $800 tuition fees for the year. In Amman, four Syrian families already received assistance from Nazarene Compassionate Ministries when they enrolled their children for the second semester last school year.

How to Help

Join Nazarenes in Syria, Jordan, and other neighboring countries as they assist their Syrian brothers and sisters. Gifts made through NCM will combine with their efforts to support families during this insecure time.

* US$25 can buy a mattress or provide supplemental food for a family until they can find some employment in the city.
* US$50 can help supply medicines for people with chronic conditions or pay for two visits to a doctor.
* US$100 can help with the first month’s rent to help keep a family housed.
* US$700 can pay for a Syrian child to attend a Nazarene school next year.

To make a donation, go to

Make checks payable to General Treasurer, and send them to:

Global Treasury Services
Church of the Nazarene
P.O. Box 843116
Kansas City, MO 64184-3116

In Canada, make checks payable to Church of the Nazarene Canada, and send them to:

Church of the Nazarene Canada
20 Regan Road, Unit 9
Brampton, Ontario L7A 1C3.

Be sure to put ACM1832 in the Memo area.
--Nazarene Compassionate Ministries
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