With Aleppo

Idomini, Greece

I woke up this morning with Aleppo on my mind. The question skittering through the sleepy recesses of my brain was, ‘When the bombs drop and the last hospital has been destroyed, where do you turn when someone you love, or a complete stranger, or your grumpy neighbor lays bleeding?’

You see, I’m struggling this season. I just don’t know how to celebrate my lights and my gifts and my turkey-laden table when a 7-year old is tweeting a moment by moment stream of consciousness about the bombs falling on her home. 100 bombs fell. 100 bombs shook the shell of her 7-year old life 100 times. Nothing in my life has prepared me to feel thankful for that. Nothing in her life has prepared her to live through out. Nothing.

Sometimes I get messages in my inbox, ‘What can we do about Syria? How can we help? How can we stop the war?’ I wish I had that answer. I wish I knew. I don’t, but I’m willing to try.

Someday, when I’m old and gray and my grandkids ask me about this time in history, I want to say that fear could not stop me from doing what was right and compassionate, and humane. I want those grandchildren of  mine to look at my wrinkled face and see the remnants there of a woman who believed that love was an action and peace was worth fighting for.

So, how do we stop this war in Syria?

  1. I truly believe peace begins with prayer. During this Advent season, would you covenant with me to pray ferverently for peace. And as we pray, let us ask the Lord to give us wisdom and open doors for our prayers to grow tangibly into feet and arms and voices.
  2. You can give to bring aid to people in Syria right now. Use this link for the ‘We Welcome Refugees‘ website. They lay out options to give and let me just say that we are part of two of the European organizations listed at the bottom of the webpage. I write for the WEA taskforce on anti-trafficking and refugee response. I believe that your donations are used well here.
  3. You can also give to help our refugee response currently taking part in 4 countries along the Balkan Route: Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, and Romania. Use this link to go to our Central Europe Refugee Response page. These donations help to supply necessary aid to people living in camps.
  4. You can join Ann Voroskamp in her #withaleppo campaign that includes signing a petition from the world. Follow this link #withaleppo,
  5. Find someone who does not look, think, and speak like you. Find someone that is different, that is Other than yourself: someone that speaks a different language, believes differently, and looks at the world through different eyes. Buy them coffee this week, sit a the table, and simply listen. Listen to their story.

How can these steps make a difference in a war? Honestly, I’m not sure that in and of themselves, they can. But, I believe that the end of the war begins with us and our determination that it must stop. Until the world demands peace for Syria, the war will continue for as long as it serves the purpose of the powers who drive that war. I do believe that these 5 steps, engaged prayerfully, will allow God to begin to stir a holy conviction within our hearts for 7-year old Bana and children like her.

Tomorrow, we’ll be taking a trip to a town that sits on the border of 3 nations to visit friends who fled from Aleppo almost a year ago. They fled their home with their 2 children and a baby on the way when bombs crushed the upper structure, but left the basement in tact. Watch for our updates on the facebook page and on this blog as we visit a new camp on the Refugee Highway.

May God bless you so that you can bless others – #withaleppo


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