What does Displacement look like in the Middle East
what was the journey like?
What is God doing today among displaced people in the Middle East?
Ongoing conflicts in the Middle East have displaced the largest number of people of any region in the world. It is impossible to accurately count the number of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) – those who remain in their home country – let alone the hundreds of thousands who have died. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, estimates in the Middle East there are:
• 2.3 million Palestinian refugees
• 3.6 million displaced persons in Sudan
• 1.9 million displaced persons in South Sudan
• 1.5 million displaced persons in Iraq
• 7.3 million displaced persons in Syria
• 4.1 million displaced persons in Yemen
Across the entire region of the Middle East there are over 30 million men, women, and children displaced and homeless!
Before the civil war in Syria, Mahir ran a consulting company, and Mouna taught high school science at the best school in Aleppo. Life was good, and their five children were doing well. Even for the first three years of the war, they were able to remain in their home.
However, since serving in the army is compulsory, they decided to flee to avoid losing their three teenage boys to military service. They packed a few of their most valued possessions, took all the money they could, drove to the coast, and hired a local tour operator to take them across the Mediterranean to Turkey. Unlike many poorer refugees who risked death at sea, they could afford to pay the high prices for a safe boat.
After travelling along the Turkish coast, they crossed to the Greek island of Lesbos and registered with the UN at the Moria refugee camp. It is massively overcrowded, the sanitation is horrible, and violence is rampant.
After five years of camp life, their refugee application was finally accepted by Brazil, where they hope to start a new life together.
God is at work in amazing ways among the displaced people in the Middle East. Unprecedented numbers of Muslims are coming to faith in Christ. In Jordan and Lebanon, foreign workers are free to work with the churches ministering to refugees.
In Lebanon, evangelical churches and agencies are serving Syrian Muslim refugees in Beirut and among refugees in unofficial camps throughout the Beqaa valley. God is blessing this loving Christian action, and churches are overflowing with believing refugees, most of whom are Kurds from Syria.
Likewise, churches and agencies in Jordan have been working among both Iraqi and Syrian refugees for years, and the response to the Gospel has been encouraging. In Egypt, there are numerous ministries and churches serving Sudanese refugees.
Some churches in Syria are boldly reaching out to needy refugees and nominal Christians. Now disillusioned Muslims often outnumber the original church members!