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Syrian Christians Under Siege Need Our Prayers

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Syrian Christians Under Siege Need Our Prayers

By Jerry Dykstra , CP Guest Contributor

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The Christians, who make up approximately 10 percent of the population of Syria, face extra difficulties, being the target of specific threats such as kidnappings, as well as suffering repercussions from Islamic extremists for allegedly supporting President Assad. He gave Christians a degree of freedom to worship under his regime.

Although Syria has a Christian history, some Islamic Syrians tell Christian Syrians to "go back to their own country." In their view, Christians belong to the western world. Over 10,000 Christian families have fled from their homes, according to Open Doors, an international Christian ministry which supports persecuted believers. Some neighborhoods are soon taken over by Salafists (radical Islamists) who rule in Homs and parts of Aleppo with the extreme guidelines of Sharia Law. Pastor Ouseph says he sees people walking around without hands, probably because they have stolen something. Under Sharia Law, that's usually the penalty for theft.

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With the sounds of war going on around their home, Pastor Ouseph tucks his two young girls into bed every night, preparing them for what could happen: "If a bomb explodes, you might see a lot of blood, and it might hurt a little, but if we die, we will close our eyes here and reopen them in heaven," he tells them.

His children check the bins of their schools for bombs every morning before they go into class. Ouseph's wife Hanna says, "God has saved us many times by showing us the location of bombs so they could be disarmed."

The Christians get little support from inside or outside the country. But even in the midst of chaos, the pastor sees the blessings God gives them: "If there is no earthly thing to trust in, you have to trust in God and this is what He teaches us to do through this difficult situation."

Even in this time of death and destruction, the church of Pastor Ouseph has been a refuge for Christians and non-Christians. Women whose husbands have left to fight in the war have come to the church to hear the gospel.

Homs, a city which had a major Christian community, has been obliterated by bombings over the past two years, causing most of the believers to flee to other Christian communities inside Syria or to refugee camps outside of the country. Ouseph's church has been praying fervently for the Christians in Homs. God answered their prayers, but not in the way the believers expected.

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praying

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This will be a matter of prayer for me.

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