In Killing Christians: Living the Faith Where It’s Not Safe to Believe, Tom Doyle recounts the story of a small group of Christians in Damascus, Syria. The group met one night and decided to spend a week praying and fasting about whether to stay in Syria or flee to a refugee camp.
When the week ended they met again, even more people had joined their group. They placed their faith and their fate in the hands of God. If He saw fit that they would die a martyrs death, then they would face that reality together.
A few blocks over there was an empty plot of land. The small congregation pooled their money together and bought it. They were going to live their lives together, possibly die together, and be buried together.
This is the reality for every Jesus follower in the nation of Syria.
No one likes to think about persecution, but that is exactly what we are doing for the next week at Engage. During this week you have the opportunity to send encouraging letters and prayers to Christians suffering persecution in Syria. If you are ready to do so, click here.
If you are unfamiliar with what is happening in Syria, NBC News has produced an informative, two-minute video to catch you up.
What this video leaves out is the suffering specific to Christians in the war-torn nation. Different areas of the country are led by different factions; but none of them are friendly to Christians. No matter where these believers turn they are faced with church bombings, churches being destroyed, abductions, and even crucifixions.
Doyle told Engage, “Last year we only anticipated receiving 200-300 letters. We had to work overtime to translate the 2,000 we received.”
God opened an opportunity no one at e3 Partners, least of all Doyle, saw coming. He said, “We found an Arabic-speaking church in America who wants to receive the letters in English and translate them into the heart-language of the Christians in Syria.”
God has not just made His hand known in the translation. God also orchestrated the delivery of the letters. In a few months (date withheld for the protection of the pastors) several pastors from Syria will sneak across the border for a time of worship, teaching, and fellowship. e3 Partners will have a team there to hand the letters to them. The pastors will then smuggle the letters back across the border and distribute them to their churches.
“We in America cannot fathom the type of persecution our brothers and sisters are experiencing,” Doyle said. “But we can come alongside them.”
Because people, and not software, will translate these letters, we are requesting that you keep your letter to fewer than 150 words. But you are certainly invited to write more than one. Encourage your church, youth group, and Sunday school class to write letters. Have children draw pictures and send them in.
If you are unsure of what to write, here are a few ideas:
- Include your name.
- Write a piece of encouraging Scripture.
- Write a short prayer.
- Encourage them.
- If you are still unsure, here some of the letters from last year’s Orange Letter Campaign:
- “May the Lord keep you in the palm of His hand. God is an ever-present help in time of trouble. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and give you peace. The Lord prepares His table before you in the presence of your enemies. His rod and His staff they will comfort you. He will anoint your head with oil and your cup will run over” (Psalm 23).
- My thoughts are with you as you walk in the presence of Jesus.
- God Bless you our dear brothers and sisters in the faith.
- Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, Lord of heaven and earth! I have heard of your situation here in the United States, and stand with you in the faith in our Lord Jesus. You are not alone, your loved ones have demonstrated unshakeable faith, and they – and you – are my heroes.
- “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb’” (Rev. 7:9-10).
- Your loved ones are there, waiting for you to join them one day. May our Lord Jesus Christ bless you with the peace that passes all understanding, from now until that great day when you, too, stand in white before His throne.
This is an opportunity to serve where nothing but your time is asked of you. We purposefully do not ask for any monies, donations, or gifts during this campaign. We intentionally do this so you can focus on two things: praying for persecuted Christians across the world and writing letters to those in Syria.
(This article first appeared on engagemagazine.net HERE)