Syrian Christians Choose to Stay Because 'It's God's Call'
Christians are facing heavy persecution in Syria, but while some are fleeing the country, there are quite a few staying behind. They believe God wants them to reach out to the Islamists that attack them daily.
"There are some Christians who are fleeing because they have no other choice, but there are many Christians who have really felt God's call to stay in town, even though they have been attacked and targeted because of their faith. They realize that God's using them, and (are reaching) out to their Muslim neighbors," Emily Fuentes, PR and Communications Coordinator at Open Doors USA, shared with The Christian Post in a phone interview on Friday.
Millions fled Syria throughout the course of the country's civil war, and many of the rebels make Christians their primary targets. Ancient Christian cities have been destroyed, and rebels slaughter Christians who refuse to convert to Islam. It is not because these Christians side with President Bashar al-Assad, but because of their faith.
"Christian churches are being attacked in different parts of the cities by the Muslim extremists in the rebel groups," she said.
"There has been looting, physical attacks, there has been kidnapping and just a bunch of difficult and horrific things; parts of towns being bombed and attacked because they are Christian."
Fuentes told Christian Post the church leaders do not want to make political statements, and their main priority is helping the Syrian people. The Open Doors group is providing food, medical supplies, hygiene products and other necessities. Christian leaders are only asking for prayer and want God to work through them.
Fuentes shared of one instance when a man looking like a Muslim extremist came to the church's doorstep, which initially caused alarm. "The concern was that he might be there to attack them. The church leaders were nervous, but couldn't turn him away, and let him in.
"They kept an eye on him but let him in and offered him a meal, and he listened to a sermon, and at the end of this, this man who was an extremist gave his life to Christ – and so those churches have seen amazing miracles like this happen, and feel that God is calling them in this way."