Meet a Father and Grandfather from Syria

Syrians make tents out of discarded plastic sheets.

Join me on a journey to the Syrian region—where my heart was broken by the horrors of war.  Meet the people living as refugees whose faces and stories tell of the suffering and loss  brought on from losing loved ones, homes and ways of life.

Time after time, as I sat with Syrian refugees in Lebanon, my eyes welled up with tears at their pain. The only prayer I could form consistently was, “Lord, have mercy…”

Let me invite you to enter into the lives of two men whose stories I want you to hear so that you can join my prayer of “Lord have mercy…” on the Syrian people. These are two families coming from Syria traveling separate paths that both ended up in places of uncertainty and vulnerability.

A Grandfather and Teacher

Pete Howard and Yousef

I shared lunch with Yousef*, a grandfather and teacher who is now a refugee in Sidon, the third largest city in Lebanon. Today, he volunteers as a teacher of refugee children and sometimes gets paid a small stipend.

He and 21 of his extended family fled the fighting in Syria, but he told me through tears of grief, how they fled too late for two of his nephews. Two of his nephews were gunned down in public. He held their bodies as they lay dead in the street.

He now shares a three-bedroom apartment with 21 of his relatives and confided how going home at night is hard. He used to have a life where he could provide for his family and grandchildren. Now, he can’t. He wants to be a grandfather and bring gifts to his grandchildren like he did in better times. Now, all he can do to help provide for their most basic needs.

It’s crushing him that after a life of hard work, all that he’d accomplished has been destroyed. He and his family need help.

Living in an Abandoned Barn

One of the Syrian children living in the abandoned barn.

Just like Yousef, the Aziz* family also needs help as they try to survive in an isolated barn, which they shared with a farmer’s horses. Bombs destroyed their home and business in a suburban city in Syria. They fled with only what they could wear and carry over the mountain border into Lebanon.

Aziz’s daughter served us mint tea while her father wept and said, “My life is over, but I want to preserve a future for my children.”

His wife  wiped away her own tears as her once proud husband declared his total hopelessness in providing for and protecting his children’s hopes and dreams. Their daughter hoped to be a beautician like her mother. Aziz’s two sons wanted to be an architect and a nurse and the youngest son just liked playing soccer.

All of this was enshrouded in further despair as their mother spoke of the isolation and fear of being a parent in a lonely barn in a foreign land with no community to turn if they are attacked or if their children get sick.

Help these Families Survive

With more than 6 million Syrians without homes, the need for help is immense. You can do something today to help. Please partner with Food for the Hungry as we bring food, shelter, hygiene kits and other need items to refugees. And please pray for God to soften the hearts of churches all over the world to help these people in need.

*Names have been changed to protect these men and their families.

, , , , , ,