The war in Syria has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, creating one of the greatest humanitarian crises in history. For those left behind in Syria's besieged cities, often unable to flee due to disability or illness, life is extremely difficult. Damascus Church Aid, Anglican Aid's partner in Syria, is providing emergency food, clothing and assistance to hundreds of families left in Damascus. Many of these people fled to Damascus from other parts of Syria and are without family or friends.
The war has caused wild inflation, making the purchase of basic supplies very difficult. Anglican Aid's support of Damascus Church Aid has enabled them to buy food, gas for cooking, clothing and blankets for many people who no longer can afford the high prices.
Please help us support these families in Syria by making a tax deductible donation to Damascus Church Aid!
Will you pray for all God's people who go on living and ministering in Syria - for their preservation and for His honour?
To donate online please click on the “Support This Project” buttons above and below.
Direct Deposit donations can be made to our bank account BSB 032078, Account Number 253493, Account Name: Anglican Aid. Please email the office with details of your donation at email@example.com. Cheques can be posted to – PO Box Q190, QVB Post Office, 1230, NSW.
Anglican Aid is committed to expending all funds raised in emergency projects in the country where the emergency occurred and will use all donated funds in the country where the emergency occurred to assist long term development objectives. Emergency funds are not retained for emergencies elsewhere.
All donations to this project are tax deductible.
ABN 28 525 237 517
- Pray for the people of Eastern Ghouta as bombing has caused many deaths in February 2018.
In August 2017 Pastor Samir Yacco visited Australia and spoke to Anglican Aid supporters in Wollongong, Campbelltown and Darling Point. The following article is from Sydney Anglicans website
“My children said that we couldn’t have two martyrs in the family – so I was the one sacrificed!” Pastor Samir Yacco says with a smile. He makes light of the fact that his wife and children live in the safety of the United States while he returned to strife-torn Syria to pastor a church.
Pastor Yacco told remarkable stories of his work when he visited Sydney for talks with Anglican Aid. Syria has been wracked by six years of civil war, with bombings, food and medical shortages and an estimated 50 per cent of the population forced from their homes.
In the midst of this, Samir Yacco pastors a Baptist church in the capital, Damascus. As well as leading his own congregation he also provides emergency assistance to many internally displaced people who have fled the fighting in other parts of the country.
“The crisis was a surprise,” he says. “We never expected that one day, we would be facing what we are facing.”
Hopes were high when a freedom movement emerged in Syria in 2011, but Pastor Yacco adds, “When the [freedom] movement was Islamised, we began to be afraid. We knew what would happen, because we had a lesson from what happened in Iraq.”
This has taken its toll on the Christian population. “When the French left Syria in 1946, Christians were 20 per cent [of the population – we even had a Presbyterian Prime Minister,” he says. “When Tony Blair visited [in 2001] it was 12 per cent. I believe now it is 6 per cent.” Pastor Yacco has also been caring for a former Anglican congregation since the war began. Before then, he worked with a string of Australians including Jim Doust, Andrew Lake and Peter Smart. It was through the Smarts that the church was introduced to the Archbishop of Sydney’s Anglican Aid and the Damascus church aid program began.
“Before the crisis, our church was of 80 adult members – we knew each other – all of a sudden we saw many people coming,” he says. “We had no experience in managing a crisis but the Lord helped us. The Lord is seeing us through.”
Pastor Yacco shows pictures of the old church building with its entrance jammed with people.
“Our old building wasn’t enough for the newcomers and there was no emergency exit… if fire broke out we would all be charcoal,” he says.
“When we were praying, there was a neighbouring house and when the old lady passed away her family sold the house to us. A French organisation helped us enlarge the hall and areas for Sunday school.”
Amid the rubble of Damascus, locals thought they were stupid to invest in building. “But actually when the order came from above – we couldn’t say no – trust and obey,” he says. Now, we have more than doubled our space. We can seat 250 people and we often have more. More and more people are coming to Christ, and evangelism, in fact, it is easier now.”
The church has many ways to help those forced from their homes in other parts of the country. “The primary need is food, medication, accommodation and some household goods,” Pastor Yacco says.
“We have a big event called ‘Back to School” – we are planning to help 400 kids. The whole school year costs something like $50 each for the whole year. We give them stationery, school bags, textbooks, notebooks and we are planning to increase the number if are able to.”
Other help includes an annual public Bible distribution where the congregation goes to public places such as gardens and parks and sets up distribution tables.
“To those who are newly displaced we give blankets, pillows and household goods,” he says. “On Mother’s day, to any woman, we gave 300 coupons to go to the church store to get rations of food. Twice a month we have a meals on wheels. We serve families something we know they can’t afford like meat or a kebab. The kids especially appreciate it.”
Listening to Pastor Yacco’s enthusiasm in the face of a long line of refugees, it is clear the gospel is a shining beacon in a difficult place.
Then he turns to the photos of a treasured moment. An Afghani family, which went to Iran through UNHCR, found themselves in Damascus for processing. The church made contact with their son Daniel through youth group. He accepted Christ and told the gospel to his whole family. The 12 members of the family are now in Greece, but not before Pastor Yacco baptised them all in the church’s new building.
“Trust and obey – isn’t that right?” he asks, echoing the old hymn. “To be happy in Jesus, you trust and obey.”
Distributing vouchers for winter fuel January 2018