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Why I keep serving students in Syria

Light in the darkness of war

Haya* lives in Syria. She trained as a dentist, but life has not turned out as she expected. The war has changed everything. We asked her to share her story.

Trusting Jesus in the darkness

I witnessed the death of many young men, women, and children all around me in every corner of the city. My father’s house and my dentistry clinic have been bombed several times, and it pushed me to think seriously of closing down my clinic and emigrating to another country. But God in His mercy closed every possible door of emigration. I heard Him saying: “It’s Me; do not be afraid”, just as Jesus told the disciples when they saw Him through the darkness, walking on the water towards them in the boat.

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Photo by aladdin hammami on Unsplash

The darkness of the war in recent years has created many catastrophes, and I felt God’s call to do something. I knew that in the middle of the darkness there is a real need for those who carry the true light of Christ.

I cried out to God and told Him:

“I am Yours! I believe in You, and I am waiting on You even in the middle of death, the loud voice of bombs and the threats of kidnapping. You know that I am a mother and a wife, and it is my right to look for a safe place for my family. But I do not want to be in a place where You do not want me to be.”

The jar and the treasure: hope for the harvest

During that time of hardship, God’s Word was my lighthouse, the place where I ran to find encouragement. Every time I read it, He was clearly telling me that I am a clay jar that holds His most precious treasure. I have discovered that the secret of surviving is in the treasure and not in my weak clay jar.

I have lived all my life in a country where it is really difficult to serve as a woman in a man’s world – even in ministry. But I was surrendered to God’s will. The Bible clearly emphasises the vastness of the harvest. Convinced of this truth, looking for lost sheep outside the church and bringing them into the church became my goal.

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Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

Open doors

God opened doors for me to serve with university students, in addition to my ministry of counselling, and offering post traumatic support for those who have survived the war. The ministry has grown to include most of the cities in this country. We financially support and counsel battered war victims – mostly women, teenagers and children.

The Lord has blessed us in recent years even though it was very dangerous to serve. We had many conferences and gatherings, and He has protected us. I see the fruits of this ministry in the young men and women who have come to know Christ in a personal way, and they are now helping me with the ministry. When people are truly satisfied in their relationship with God, the course of their lives changes from looking inwardly for satisfaction, to investing their lives in serving others as their Lord did.

Keeping going in the battle

I believe that God called me for this great work of His, and I am determined to continue as He leads. God is present in unsafe places as well as safe places. I have faced many hardships throughout my years of ministry. Sometimes I have felt sorry for myself; I have wanted to withdraw from the ‘battle’ just as Elijah did. But I am thankful for my Saviour’s love that has sustained my journey.

*name changed

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