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Who Will Listen?

By Amanda Lynn

I didn’t know if I could survive the trauma and stress.

 

It was 2010, and I was living in North Africa. One man in Tunisia burned himself alive to protest the unemployment rate. From there, unrest spread like wildfire in in the Arab world. Young and old took to the streets in protest of injustice, and violence often accompanied their efforts.

 

I was working in the region at that time, and had been for many years. My relatively safe and happy existence there turned scary. Rage and unrest came in waves of protest and riot. The American embassy kept us updated about safety protocols. The volatile environment and surveillance kept us from freely sharing the gospel and gathering for worship. The burden grew as the days became weeks and then months. Before I knew it, I had lived under the constant stress for more than a year. It affected my work and relationships with local people—nearly putting an end to it all. The people giving me wise counsel told me it was time to take a long rest outside region. Soon after, I arrived in the arms of a family and an organization that wanted to help me recover and get counseling. I was so fortunate.

 

But Syrian Refugees have not been so fortunate. They leave home, country, family, financial stability and even their ability to work and communicate. Who is there to welcome them when they arrive? Who can listen and give them counsel? Who is there to tell them the truth about the Jesus who loves them?

 

That’s why I’m so excited about Pioneers’ initiative to raise funds to provide trauma counseling for Syrian refugees—like the counseling I went through several years ago.

 

One Pioneer working in a refugee camp writes, “This week we visited a building full of Syrians all from the same extended family. The needs were endless. One woman had just lost a baby in the 8th month. The other women were all telling her to not cry and to get over it. I was able to pray with her and to talk with all of the women about the importance of grieving all of our losses—tears are not a sign of weakness. One man without legs and heard story after story of the constant trauma the rest of their family was enduring in Syria and how it affects them day to day as they listen [by phone]. An elderly granny was caring for her two grandchildren. The father had been killed in a bombing, the mother's had been forced to remarry and leave her children. The 3-year old boy had been terribly injured in the bombing that took his father. He is in constant pain, emotionally and physically. The granny was desperate for physical and emotional support. It is in these homes and situations that we are able to offer one-on-one lay counsel and support.”

 

Just like I did, they need people to help them process what they have experienced. Though they do not have the financial or human resources to get counseling in their own language with people who understand their culture, we can help them get it.

 

Click here to see the video and find out how you can be part of this effort to offer real help and hope to Syrian refugees.
 

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