We trust God has better plans for usJune 27, 2022
Finally able to catch my breathJuly 29, 2022
Abissa and her youngest son drinking milk
We are from Afrin, Syria. The war broke out and everything around us got destroyed so we had to leave our home. We have been living in Lebanon since 2018 with our two boys (now 5 and 2 years old) and it hasn’t been easy. We stayed in Zahle for a while, almost two years. My husband is deaf and mute. He was like that before but it got worse due to the fear and trauma of the war. So it made it very difficult for him to find work and our financial situation has long been terrible.
Eventually he found a job in a bakery, but his employer was very abusive and he felt very humiliated. He worked there for 3 years and exhausted himself for a very small salary. He used to leave the house at 4:30 AM and come back at 3 PM. He never had a day off, was forbidden to take our older son there, could never sit down, eat or drink anything from the bakery, and he did all the preparing, cooking, and cleaning. He would also bring ingredients at home in the evening so I can prepare them for the next day. I never got paid for that work. When I tried to complain to the owner on his behalf, he told me I should thank God that he was allowing him to work there in the first place despite his handicap.
Our landlord tells us the same thing when we try to advocate that the rent is too expensive for us. The place is very small, the ceiling is leaking whenever it rains, and yet he wants to double the price of rent and charge us LBP 1,000,000 every month. We cannot afford it but he says he should ask even more and is doing us a favor.
Another big issue is that we have no money to afford medical care. My husband went through a lot of health issues and suffered terrible back pain but he couldn’t get any treatment or medicine. I myself developed kidney stones from drinking tap water, and I had a complicated delivery for my second son. He had to be born by C-section but it left me with a lot of debt and I couldn’t afford the post-surgery treatment and medication. It was so painful and I kept bleeding. I have no family here to help me. So it meant so much to me that my friends from the church bought the medicine I needed and stood by me. I thank God for these people!
I first met people from the church by attending one of their discipleship groups. I was pregnant at the time. A lady from the group started praying with me even though she didn’t know me. It made me cry, I couldn’t stop anymore. I got to know the ladies in the group and later decided to join the church as well because I saw God’s hand in every situation I went through. Day by day, I felt Jesus was working in my life.
My faith and the support from the church changed my life. I feel so much better and even my husband feels more peace. What helps me the most is the milk and diapers and the food vouchers. They complement each other, because the milk I receive from the church is not enough to cover my sons’ needs. So I use part of the food voucher to get additional milk for my children. I would rather starve than letting my children go hungry or malnourished.
I usually have enough left on the voucher to buy other basic food necessities, like oil, sugar, or tea. I also received a hygiene kit filled with much needed items for the house, and the church helps me with other expenses like rent, or whatever they are able to provide.
The pastor visited my house two months ago and saw how tired, skinnier, and isolated my husband was. He also was in a lot of physical pain because of his back pain. The pastor took him to the doctor and paid for his medication. Ultimately, it is also the pastor who found a new job for my husband. I had been praying so long about it, it was truly an answer to prayer! He started yesterday and is now happily working in the bakery run by the church. He is his own boss there and no one humiliates him. He is comfortable and at ease.
My main hope for the future is that my children can receive an education. I want them to have a better future and not need help from anybody. My older son is 5 years old and he should join school next year. Our neighbors’ kids are all at school already and he asks me why he isn’t at school too. I also never was able to throw him a birthday party when he sees our neighbors celebrate theirs. He came home crying heavily one day because of that. It breaks my heart and it is tough because no matter how much you try to explain things to them, they are still too young to understand.
We have been through a lot of difficult times, but thank God for the church and the people there that stood by us. I believe that God is with us because He has been speaking to me. I once saw Jesus in a dream, holding my hand and telling me “your place is not here, come with me and I will give you a place”, then taking me somewhere beautiful where everything was greenery and trees. He then told me “you belong here, not there”. I tell my children and my husband that despite all the trials, God will not leave us behind. Our role is to pray, and the Lord will provide. Nothing is impossible for Him.
Abissa’s husband at his new workplace and their older son