Unending Suffering

Rasul (name changed to protect privacy) is one of the kindest, gentle hearted and most hospitable people that I have ever met. He is a Syrian refugee from Aleppo who is also a single father. He had his knees broken by bad “radicals” and couldn’t afford surgery but got miraculously healed coming to church. He told us an excited story about how he could now push a 200 kilo cart around for his job all over the neighborhood due to his healing and didn’t experience pain. It is a humble and unglamorous job selling Kleenex and toilet paper, but for someone desperate to provide for his family, he couldn’t have been more proud.

This week the police accosted him, dumped his cart over, spilled all his merchandise and confiscated his cart and his money because he is a Syrian immigrant working illegally. I was heartbroken to hear this story. What is better? That he sit on the street and beg as many have discovered is the best way to make a living, teaching their children to work the neighborhood and beg for money and food – especially from the foreigners.

A restaurant owner told me about a young boy that was selling candy to make money and then she overheard him being chastised by his mom for not begging for food as well and was made to come back and beg for food. Instead of encouraging him on his path of entrepreneurship with the candy, he got scolded and berated for not begging. What sort of lessons is that teaching him and how will that impact his future?

For our church, growing the congregation doesn’t mean that we have more money to pay the never ending bills that pile up. It means that we are likely to have more money flowing out. When 90% of your church is refugees, you are not making money, you are trying to care for families’ basic needs – bread, diapers and a roof over their heads. There is no shortage of financial and medical emergencies that the staff must attend to on a daily basis.

The pastor was called away by his wife the other day when she was visiting a family and the baby began to turn blue due to breathing problems. The hospital is out of the question in many circumstances. Undocumented immigrants can get in big trouble if they go to the hospital and it gets reported. Paying for hospital care can get quite pricey and no one has the money for this.

Just last Saturday, a 5 year old boy from our church, Jiwan, fell into boiling water and burned ¾ of his body. At first Jiwan was just given some basic care and medicine and sent home. However, his poor body was in a state of shock and he couldn’t eat, drink or even take his medicine. Burns this severe require hospitalization.

When the ministry found out several days later, we helped Jiwan get to a hospital and worked through the UN to get financial coverage. They agreed to pay 90% of the bills, but only if he was taken to Tripoli, several hours from Beirut and far from his family. We paid for his transportation up to Tripoli and agreed to cover the 10% of bills that the family is responsible for, as they have nothing. The pastors on staff are forfeiting their monthly salary trusting that God will provide to to save Jiwan’s life! The hospitalization will last at least 10 days.

The situation is still serious 7 days after the accident. He is suffering from internal bleeding and needs transfusions that they don’t have! Please pray for his healing, a full recovery as well as for financial provision.

The accident with Jiwan comes days after his mother had surgery after suffering from anemia due to continuous bleeding. A little over a week ago her condition reached a critical level to where she had to go to the hospital. She ended up needing an operation on her uterus in addition to blood transfusions. This surgery was completed successfully last week. The father is not working while taking care of Jiwan and his wife during her recovery and so they will lack the rent money and food money this month.

I wish I could tell you that this was not a typical week, but it is far more of a typical week than atypical. The needs around us are endless and we are forever tasked with deciding who we can help when with the limited funds available to us. Every life is precious and valuable and you want to serve everyone that comes under your care. How can you do this when the funds just don’t come? Truly we must rely on God daily to meet our needs as well as give us strength to continue on. Please join me in praying for these people and ask me how you can be a part of helping.