Syria: 'Keep praying for a miracle'
Tearfund has launched a week-long campaign called ‘five reasons for hope’ as the Syria conflict reaches its five year anniversary
Tuesday 15 March marks five years since the start of Syria’s brutal conflict. But inside this desperate situation international development charity Tearfund sees small glimpses of hope.
To counter the prevailing mood of despair, restore public morale and generate fresh energy in the effort to support Syrians, it has launched a week-long campaign called ‘five reasons for hope’.
For five days over the week beginning 14 March, Tearfund will publish a story of hope - one for every year of the conflict so far. These will feature some inspiring Syrians staying positive in the face of hardship, Middle Eastern churches overcoming old prejudices to serve their former enemies, and Syrian Christians willing to sacrifice everything to help those in need. Tearfund is also encouraging supporters to write to their MP, and joining with other NGOs in a call for action to ask the UK to do more for Syria.
The charity's Stella Chetham, who is based in the Middle East, acknowledged that the very mention of hope in relation to Syria "could seem foolishly optimistic". In only half a decade the war has sparked what’s being called the greatest humanitarian crisis of a generation, and the worst refugee crisis since the second world war. More than a quarter of a million people have been killed, and an average of 50 Syrian families have fled their homes every hour of every day since 2011, meaning half of the entire country has now been made homeless. There are 4.8 million Syrian refugees in foreign countries.
However, 'in the darkest places, the light shines the brightest,' Stella wrote. 'Extraordinary things are happening. People are defying hardship and making Christ-like sacrifices to help those around them. Others are learning to love their enemies. Many more are finding hope in God when everything else has gone.
'Working across the Middle East, I am constantly amazed by the people I meet and the way they are living out their faith. I wish I could tell you about every one of them but I can’t without risking their security. But please let me assure you that remarkable things are happening here.'
She said the stories to be shared this week feature how people across the region are showing extraordinary hospitality and kindness, and how old prejudices are being overturned as people choose to reach out to help former enemies and the resilience of Syrians "who rebuild again and again".
The stories off action points, but most of all the charity asks readers "to join us in prayer".
'We owe it to our Syrian brothers and sisters not to turn away, to keep believing and praying for a miracle,' continued Stella. 'Let’s defy the prevailing mood of despair and answer it with trust in a God who makes beauty from ashes. Let’s make sure hope is more than a four-letter word for Syria.'