The Church at Work

World Renew has been working with refugee families in Lebanon.

Syria is on many of our minds since the recent earthquake and World Renew is responding with aid for survivors. But this country has long been a place of insecurity and unrest, and an estimated one and a half million Syrians have fled to Lebanon.

Wafaa* is one of these refugees. The mother of six children, ranging in ages from nine to 18, shared, “Before the war broke out in Syria, we were happily living in our house. My husband used to work in Lebanon and would come back home frequently . . . [He] exhausted himself in Lebanon while I fixed the house in Syria so we could settle properly and enjoy a peaceful life.”

But, Wafaa added, “When the war broke out, I was alone with my children and it was extremely scary and tough on us. Just after we came here, the house got destroyed and it got robbed. All our dreams were shattered.”

The family has now been in Lebanon for ten years – far longer than Wafaa ever imagined, under conditions far different than the ones she dreamed of for her family. “We are now settled in an unfinished building which is very musty and humid . . . in winter, water seeps in and soaks the carpets . . . My husband, kids, sister, brother-in-law, their son and I are staying in the same one-room house . . . My sister and her husband do not have jobs, so my husband is the only one supporting this entire household financially,” she explained.

The hardships Wafaa’s family face are the same as many other refugee families in Lebanon, but the challenges are even more overwhelming for those struggling with poor health or a disability.

“I have a daughter with special needs, who is ten years old,” said Wafaa. “I could not find a center to treat her . . . When she’s hungry, thirsty or sleepy, she starts crying . . . she still wears diapers, but lately I have been unable to secure diapers for her, it has become too expensive.”

World Renew, in partnership with Canadian Foodgrains Bank, has been working in Wafaa’s community. And through these same channels, World Renew has been able to reach survivors of the earthquake to provide support. “When the church has diapers, they give me some. The church also gives us food vouchers, blankets, mattresses and heating supplies,” Wafaa said with gratitude. “Some people from our community were not pleased with us getting to know the church . . . So I told them that I wished we all were like the Christians and that we all had the mercy, love and honesty that they have within their hearts.”

Despite the struggles her family faces, Wafaa still looks to the future with hope. “I pray to find someone to help me take care of my disabled daughter so I can work and support my husband… I hope that my children will live a peaceful life where they can love others and be loved.” Smiling, she said, “I am counting on God and I am leaving things in his hands.”

This page is made possible through a partnership with CRC Ministries within Canada.


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