asia: January 08, 2013
Communicating the letter of Rev. Serop Megerditchian, pastor of one of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in Aleppo, Syria
'The Rising Sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace' (Luke 1.78-79)
Since more than a year our country is in a different situation.
I wonder, am I living in the same city (Aleppo), where a lot of tourists were visiting us just before two years, where there was no so called 'Arab Spring' at that time? During those 'golden' days, people were traveling without any obstacles or fears. The families were living in heated houses, with electricity, telephones, e-communications, medicines, water, bread, and the poorest person was able to live and survive. Plus, the city was night city and every person was going and coming without fear and the people were living peacefully.
As a church, during the week, we were having several activities. The Sunday morning Worship Service and the attendance were between 200-220 people. The Sunday School, 95-100 kids, attending every Sunday morning to worship the Lord. The Youth, 35-40 young people, meeting twice a week for Worship and Bible Study. The Ladies, 65-75 ladies, meeting once a week. The Young Couples, 34-38 couples, meeting once a month.
Let‘s remember, still there was no so called 'Arab Spring'.
Before two years, the so called 'Arab Spring' hit the country and before six month hit our city as well.
Now, the people of Aleppo are living without fuel for heating homes, no gas for cooking, no water, no electricity, no medicines, no doctors, no bread, and the prices of the daily necessities are five times more. Plus, after 4.00 pm the city looks like a ghost city, no one out of homes.
I wonder, is this the so called 'Arab Spring'? Or, this is 'Arab Winter (Freezing)'.
Before several days an eighty years old man phoned me and he was begging for ten liters of fuel to heat their room. He is crying for help. No bread, no electricity, no heat, no medicine and his wife is paralyzed in bed. He was saying: 'Please Pastor, help us and pray for us, we want to die.'
Another man, 66 years old, came to the church office asking for help: 'I lost my wife, because I didn’t find medicine. Now I am selling the equipments of my house, to survive. Please find me a way and send me to a place. Just to have a hot meal. Call one of the Embassies and tell them to obtain me a visa to go from this 'hell' that I am living. I am sure they will listen to you.'
I wonder, is this the 'democracy' of the so called 'Arab Spring'? Or, this is 'Arab Winter (Freezing)'.
A young mother who just gave birth to a baby, asking for bottled water and milk. Because of the stress, she is not able to feed her baby. No electricity to heat the water to prepare milk and no money to buy the milk.
Another seventy years old man, asking for help to pay the rent of the house and begging for some food to feed the family. Becaue since several months, no work and no income at all.
I wonder, is this the 'freedom' of the so called 'Arab Spring'? Or, this is 'Arab Winter (Freezing).'
This morning, another father, came to my office and asked: 'Pastor, do we deserve to live like this? No water to wash my face. No bread to eat, no electricity or fuel to heat the house. Are we living like human beings? Is this another kind of genocide? It is better not to live.'
Following our Lord’s commandment: 'Love your neighbor as yourself' (in Matthew 22). I have a lot of examples from the neighborhood, but I will mention only one.
By the way, all those of you who visited us, knows that we are living in the downtown of Aleppo, where our nearest neighbor is the Mosque (in fact, it is the nearest Church - Mosque in Aleppo, ten meters is the distance).
A man, from the neighborhood, in a desperate situation came and asked a loaf of bread to survive the whole day, while at the same time trying to get some help to feed his wife and his six kids who were living in the park.
Still I am wondering and asking, is this the so called 'Arab Spring'? Or, this is 'Arab Winter (Freezing)'.
During the Armenian Genocide, in 1915, my grandparents survived by God’s miracle and through the Arab people. When I was a kid, they were telling me their stories and their sufferings. Now, during these days, where I was obliged to be always at home, I was telling my two junior-kids (George and Vars) about my grandparents’ life style and how by God’s grace and miracle they survived. Therefore, with patience and by God’s grace, we too, will survive and have better days. After listening carefully, their comment, question was 'Are we living in the 21st century'?
But, always, thank God for the Oxygen.
Despite all these, our Shelter and Refuge is our LORD (Psalm 91). He is keeping us. Although, we are facing different types of difficulties, but HE is our HOPE. Thank God that every Sunday morning, 75-85 people are coming to Church for Worship Service and most of them by walk, challenging their life, to pray for the Prince of Peace to change people’s heart and mind in order that the human being to live peacefully with God and with each other. But, unfortunately, other Church services and activities are 'frozen'.
Christmas season is a season where the believers once more remember God’s presence with us, 'EMMANUEL', and at the same time families and friends are exchanging wishes and prayers.
In this Christmas season where our people are struggling for survival and at the same time remembering and enjoying God’s miraculous presence, we are remembering you and your prayers for us.
On behalf of my family and the congregation, I want to thank all of you for your supports, concerns and especially for your prayers through your e-mails, phone calls or messages.
May the Prince of Peace fill your heart, mind and your daily life, with Joy, Hope, Love, Peace and blessed life.
'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men' (Luke 2:14).
With best wishes and prayers,
(the pictures are illustrating the article)
January 08, 2013, 14:29 h by Anna Visky.