As the conflict in Syria rages on into its fifth year, an estimated 4 million Syrians have fled the country and another 7.6 million have been internally displaced, having escaped to find shelter in safer areas.
The demand for Bibles has increased tenfold since the conflict began proving the work of the Bible Society vital in giving the Syrian Christians strength as they find some level of hope and encouragement through the Word of God. In 2014, a total of 159,000 Scriptures were distributed by the Bible Society across Syria, an increase from just under 15,000 Scriptures distributed in 2010. Even amidst a dangerous war zone, the staff members of the Syrian Bible Society are fully committed to fulfilling their ministry of providing Scriptures to those who desperately need them.
The thirst for Scriptures among Christians here has only increased with all the unrest…The past five years have been very traumatic for Syrians in general, and for Syrian Christians in particular. Every family has a sad story. With this loss of hope, people are turning to God’s word for comfort and encouragement.
Director for the Bible Society in Syria
With such an increase in demand for Scriptures across Syria it is hugely encouraging to see that the distribution of Bibles has continued despite the harsh working conditions. Situated in Aleppo and Damascus are two Bible bookshops that are the main source of Bible distribution within Syria. There is also a network of distribution through a number of partner bookshops, churches and volunteers. Amazingly, throughout the entire conflict the Damascus bookshop has managed to remain open and the shop in Aleppo has only had to close for a two day period as the fighting in the area was so severe. Their building was struck by a rocket, fortunately it did not explode and there were no casualties or damage to the stock.
The majority of the Bible Society staff have managed to remain in Aleppo, risking their lives and continuing their work alongside the sound of neighbouring gunfire. Even throughout the conflict the bookshop still has numerous visitors many of which are young people being offered free Scriptures through a joint project between the Bible Society and local churches.
The transportation of Scriptures around Syria presents a challenge for the Bible Society but even under the circumstances they have managed to stay determined, using any means necessary to reach out to those in need. On some occasions staff members from the Bible Society have risked their lives to ensure people are receiving Scriptures as well as some much needed encouragement.
Alongside ensuring the transportation and distribution of Bibles throughout Syria, the Bible Society has also begun to focus its attention on helping to heal the traumatised Christian families. By equipping churches with the necessary tools and training, Bible-based trauma healing has become available for those who need it. Last year a group of church representatives spent a week learning from a Middle Eastern trauma healing expert and sharing their own experiences of trauma.
Some of the participants were from Aleppo, which was being besieged at the time…They were so worried about their families and kept phoning them in the breaks.
Staff Member from the Bible Society in Syria
- Pray for the Christians in Syria.
- Pray for the safety of staff and volunteers across Syria.
- Pray for the churches in Syria as they reach out to those who are suffering.
- Pray for the continued work of the Bible Society as it makes God’s Word available in the midst of war and trauma.