His name is Jack. It’s not a typical Middle Eastern name, sounding more like a New Englander instead of a kid from Aleppo, Syria.
He’s 12 and he lights up the room. He misses his friends. His toys. His grandmother.
Just nine months ago his family left everything in Syria. According to his dad, Albert, their refugee status isn’t economic. It isn’t out of convenience as some in the media want us to believe.
They were targeted for their faith.
“I had a good job as a mechanical engineer. I had my own shop with $50,000 in inventory,” he said with wistful, look-away eyes. “Then they just took it.”
“They,” according to Albert, are the “terrorists.” It’s a word that gets twisted often in our world and we have to believe governments and media analysis to choose good guys and bad. But for Albert and his family, it was pretty clear. He places the blame on forces from outside the country who have sought to destroy the nation. According to Albert, Syrian President Bashar was good to Christians. All the other forces – Daesh, ISIS and rebels – were really targeting the majority Christian population.
“More than 75 percent of my neighbors were Christians, but the terrorists came through and identified each of us by our faith. After that, we were targets,” he said.
The snipers would train their rifles on their street facing windows, so they couldn’t go near the front of the house.
He described taking the children to school, one at a time, each with a different parent.
“We didn’t want both parents to be killed at once, leaving the other children.”
So each parent bore the weight of death, walking alone to preserve the family in case the worst thing happened.
The final straw was a bomb that landed near their home, tearing out the front of it, impaling glass in Jack’s face and shrapnel in Albert’s hip.
That’s when they decided to leave their home and country.
They are now holed up in a hotel owned by relatives in Jordan. He’s trying to get asylum status in Australia or Canada.
“I want to go home, but only after the war is over,” he said. “But I will live elsewhere if it means peace and a good future for my children.”
This story is part of a series written after a journey to Jordan in October where I met with Syrian and Iraqi Christian Refugees. Please read and consider sharing each of them.
How you can help
You can help by sharing each of the stories above by email, Facebook or Twitter. This is not to build any kind of personal following, but to help these stories somehow, someway reach the right people who can change the face of the refugee crisis. There is power in a simple click. You can also subscribe here to receive all the future posts and I ask that you share them broadly as well.
There are many opportunities for attention and money, but I want to remind you what the Apostle Paul said.
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, but especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
Many of these people stood up for their faith under the threat of death. And as a body of believers, we need to rush to their side, to remind them that they are not alone. We do not do this by condemning Islam. Painting broad strokes of fear does not help in any way and only serves to isolate the innocent from Christian love. The enemies are those who terrorize, in any name.
Please share this message with your friends, as this is a chance to give real, immediate aid to those on the front lines without any bureaucracy or middlemen.
You can also give online here. Under Missionary/Project Name, “Madaba – Refugee Fund”
Checks can go to Team Expansion, POB 91294, Louisville, KY 40291, memo line, “Refugee Fund”
I would also encourage you to become a regular supporter of these people who are working every single day on behalf of the gospel for the sake of Syrian and Iraqi refugees. I’ve seen how they use money and how they live and I’m a believer that this is a worthy cause.