Tuesday 12 April 2016

What to do with $4 and 300 people in need? It must be a miracle, as it can happen in Syria thanks to the efforts of people who help each other, as they were brothers. A testimony by Pascal Bedros at the Oncity Conference (1-3 April 2016).

«In the recent turmoil in which we live, many times we are put in the situation to have to decide for the sake of our family, for the sake of our children. Like so many others, I, as well, have experienced this struggle: either to stay in my country that I love and in which I live with dignity, but that now is torn in a bloody conflict fed by ignorance, or run away from this situation for the sake of the family? This has caused me great stress and anxiety that unintentionally left its mark on my family, making our life, and that of so many people, very confused.
One day I bought the flight tickets and started the necessary paperwork for the departure. Passing by to pick a document in my church, the priest saw me very upset and asked me why. I told him that I was holding the tickets for the trip and that my suitcase was ready, but in my heart I was not comfortable in taking this step, even though I already had a job opportunity in Lebanon waiting for me. I felt I had a mission to offer to my people. The priest replied with great calm: “So, if it is so, do no leave.”
At that time, the situation in Aleppo was not as bad as it is now, but we felt that the worst was coming and that it would have come very rapidly. I decided to stay in Aleppo by myself, and organised that my wife and children would go to Beirut. I would have just accompanied them and then I would have come back. But my wife did not accept.
I’m not a person used to pray a lot, but at that moment I felt that God was asking me something here, in this place. Despite the tension that reigned around, a great sense of inner peace and tranquillity invaded me.
Together with some friends we tried to understand the community’s needs and respond through very simple aid, according to our possibilities. One day we were talking about the difficult living conditions in which so many middle class Christian families lived in and the real problem to find milk for the children.
A few days later, I went to look for milk, without result. I continued to look around the city but in vain. Eventually, after continuous research we were able to find only 4 boxes of milk.
Comparing how we could help the families, we decided to start reviewing the needs. There were 300 families and we only had 300 Syrian Lira (equal to four dollars!)
We put our trust in God. And then, here came a person of our acquaintance that intervened and was able to cover all the immediate needs through Caritas! Slowly 35 volunteers joined us in bringing aid to the most needy.
With the increase in the number of families in need, which rose from 300 to 1500, we could not ensure basic necessities to all, so we decided to seek help from the Red Crescent (the equivalent of the Red Cross in the Muslim states). The manager asked us if we offered support to people of all religions, thereby he wanted to know if we were helping the Muslims as well. Just then a person, which I knew, came in and asked me news of the Centre for deaf children that I manage with my wife. He was aware that we dealt with 55 Muslim and Christian children in the same way. Without hesitation, he waved to the manager who signed us a document for having access to the warehouses. We were surprised at the large amount of aid that we received without expecting it!
Every time, before facing any problems or difficulties, I strongly feel that we are not alone, and I experience that through certain people, who are like the angels, so to say, that God has led in our paths of life. »

To be continued…

One Comment

  1. Finn Fadum
    Posted May 03 , 2016 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

    A strong message. Thank you!

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