Thursday, 26 June 2014

Border report from Lebanon

The Damascus to Beirut road is remarkably busy - despite three bombings in five days in or near Beirut.  The Lebanese security forces have caught bombers and potential bombers, foiling major attacks. The check points have been increased and strengthened. Yet, this is almost nothing compared to the stories of those coming out of Syria.

This evening I spoke with two priests from  Syria and some of their family members. One priest said that two of his brothers, Elias and Andrew, had been seized two years ago and that nothing had been heard of them since. A couple who had fled Homs spoke of how some Christians within Syria had started moving back to the Homs district, but that bombings still continue in the centre of Homs despite the city being reclaimed by Assad's forces. Other reclaimed Christian towns are similar - such as Maaloula, where there have been explosions since it was retaken from fundamentalist Islamists who had destroyed so much of the town.

The other priest I spoke to had just arrived in Beirut from Damascus. He told me: "It is so very difficult to live, to survive. Even today we had attacks....everyday there are at least eight or twelve bomb attacks."

I listened and could hardly find words to say. All I could do was to assure them of daily prayers for them.  I added that we at Aid to the Church in Need are standing with them...and that we would continue to be with them to help rebuild faith and hope when peace breaks through the madness of conflict.

Bishop Nabil Chucrallah El Hajj asked in Tyre (Sour) earlier today: "Please pray first - and above all...pray, please, that Christians can build peace in this region. Christians are paying a heavy price in this the Holy Land where Our Lord, his Mother and his disciples came. Thank you for all you do - we need you at ACN and all our Christian brothers and sisters to sustain the Church."

Neville Kyrke-Smith
National Director ACN UK

Beirut, Lebanon

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