My name is Mazen and I serve our Syrian brothers in the relief team of my church. We visit them often to see what their needs are. In this season, they badly need winter items, especially where we are. The Bekaa valley is a 3,300 feet high plain, surrounded from all sides by mountains. It gets very cold and snowy in the winter.
We serve in an area that is so close to Syria, about 15 minutes away by car! Syrian families are still coming in Lebanon through the mountains. I know a woman who crossed the border by foot with her children 20 days ago. They had to walk for eight hours in the cold and in the snow.
The families who newly arrive from Syria live in very difficult conditions because they have to pay a lot of money to get smuggled in the country. When they reach Lebanon, they have nothing anymore. So we try to help them in every way we can: we provide them with food boxes, and in the winter with stoves, fuel for heating, mattresses and blankets.
Through the relief work, our main goal is to show God’s love to people. Not in words, but in actions. Jesus did not only teach, but he acted and served.
We provide material support on one hand, and on the other hand we give them our love. It is much more than just providing some food or winter items. We visit them often, we share coffee or tea, we take time to ask about their situation and listen to them, we check up on them by phone, and of course we pray for them.
The current economic crisis in Lebanon has a very negative impact on our relief work. The needs are increasing as everything is getting more and more expensive and as the Lebanese pound has been depreciating a lot. There is no work opportunities, even for Lebanese people. When we bring something to a family, all the neighboring families tell us they need help too. We would like to help everyone, but unfortunately, we can’t.
What keeps me going is God’s command to love our neighbors. God taught us what real love looks like. So we just try to obey Him by taking care of the vulnerable people around us. Also, those Syrians are my people.
I am Syrian myself, I am one of them. So I feel that God put me in this place so I can serve them. I am happy around them, and it is my privilege if I can help them in any way.