From 2018–2022, Cherrydale’s missions program is focusing on Syrian refugees, specifically people from four unreached people groups: Syrian Arab, Kurmanji Kurd, Druze, and Romani. (An unreached people group is one which would likely never hear the gospel in their distinct culture and language.) Learn more about Focus for Four.
Why is Cherrydale focusing on Syrian refugees?
Syria is a predominantly Muslim nation, with 19 unreached people groups (UPGs). Due to years of civil war, however, millions of Syrians have left their country and are now living in areas that can easily be accessed by missionaries. During the Focus For Four investigative trip, the team met people from four UPGs: Syrian Arab, Kurmanji Kurd, Druze, and Romani. We have been presented with the opportunity to reach these war-torn people with a message of hope and the love of Jesus before they return to their native country.
Many refugees live in depressing conditions, and lack normal day-to day life activities such as employment or school. They are desperate for any messages of hope and may be more open to hearing the gospel and investigating it on their own. Many are disillusioned with Islam because of the conflict.
Pray for Syrian Refugees
- For healing for Syria, for a government that functions on behalf of its citizens
- For the ability for the refugees to return home, and when they do for it to be a safe place with basic needs in place quickly (health care, water and sanitation, the rebuilding of homes, schools for the children)
- For the Lord to give us ideas as to how best to encourage these people
- For spiritual awakening in the hearts of these people, that they would know there is a God who loves them, that those who are seeking God would be found by Him
- For the Lord to help us share the message of the gospel with these refugees and equip them to return to their villages strengthened in the hope of the Lord
Background on Syrian Refugees
What is a refugee?
A person who has had to leave his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence.
Why have Syrians fled their country?
Because of armed conflict that began in 2011 between the Syrian government and protesters. Since then, people have been fleeing the country to escape the violence. As of April 2018, half the country’s pre-war population (estimated 11.4 million people) have been killed or forced to flee their homes. About half of refugees from Syria are children.
Where have Syrian refugees fled to?
Mostly to the countries near Syria: Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Egypt. A small percentage have made it to Europe.
What is life as a refugee like?
Although they are no longer facing the threat of violence, life for a Syrian refugee is still very difficult. They have left homes, businesses, schools, jobs—nearly their entire way of life. In many areas, basics such as food, water, shelter, and medical care are not readily available, despite aid efforts from local and international organizations. As the years of conflict continue unabated, humanitarian efforts cannot keep up with the needs.
- Religion: Syrians are 89% Muslim. Only 0.16% percent are evangelical Christian.
- Languages: Arabic is the most common language. Many have a basic knowledge of English, but only a small number are proficient in it.
- Food: Common Syrian food includes pita bread, hummus (chickpea dip), baba ghanoosh (eggplant spread), mahshe (stuffed grape leaves, zucchini, and bell peppers), shawarma (gyro), and salads such as tabbouleh and fattoush. Baklava is a popular dessert. Everyone drinks cups of tea and coffee throughout the day, served with lots of sugar.