Monday, July 30, 2012

Prayers for Syria

In 2004, our family spent three weeks touring Syria with a Syrian family who are dear friends of ours. It was such a fascinating trip {and quite the adventure}!

We crossed in to Syria from the Jordan border, traveled up to Damascus, further north to Sednaya, Maalula, and as far north as Aleppo. Syria is a beautiful country, has wonderful food, some amazing historical sights, and a very slow and simple way of life. We were the first Americans to visit the tiny village where our friends were from. As we entered the village, we were taken from house to house, introduced, and invited in for tea and sweets. It was an amazing show of hospitality, took all night long and became the night that I drank the most tea in my life!

Here are some other trip highlights:

Hamidiya Souk in the Old City, Damascus. This market lays on the old Roman street that would have lead to the Roman Temple of Jupiter. A market has been on this land since Roman times!

Beautiful rug seller in the Old City markets.

Amazing tile and gold inside the Umayyad Mosque.

Inside the Convent of Our Lady in the tiny village of Sednaya, one of the last few places that still speaks Aramaic.

Toward the end of our trip, we spent time in Aleppo, a northern city and is Syria's 2nd largest city. We visited Aleppo because our friends had lived in this city before they moved to Jordan and much of their family was still in Aleppo. We had a great week meeting and visiting their family, whom became very dear to us. We have stayed in touch with them since the trip!

The city of Aleppo looking from the hills of the medieval Citadel at the city center.

The street our friends family home was on.

As has been reported this week, Aleppo has been under heavy fire. We have been in touch with our dear friends and it has brought this sad situation so close to home for us. Here are excerpts from the emails we have been receiving from them this past week...

July 24th - For the first time we cancelled our ladies meeting because of the very bad night we had, and uncertain expectations for today.Would you please keep praying for people in our city, and especially Christians, who have no place to run away from the city if the situation will go worse: the way to Turkey is closed and no Christian villages around the city!

July 27th - Thank you for your encouraging words and prayers. Monday and Tuesday nights were very very bad in Aleppo, hearing the sounds of heavy weapons were horrifying.
Wednesday and Thursday (yesterday) the fighting continued, but not like in the beginning.
Now it is Friday morning, the day started as a hot day, in temperature and sound of battle. The last two days, the city was nearly closed, and this is the second day without bread! (nearly all bakeries were closed). This is our 5th day with out gasoline, and gas for cooking now around 70$ instead of 10$!! Of course if you can find it. We still have water and electricity. We start to see dozens of families in public gardens and some schools. Hope this Friday will go easily and peacefully.

July 29th - It was encouraging to read your emails and know about the huge number of people are praying for us and for my country. Till now there are no changes in the center of fights. Yesterday and today I went downtown walking through the streets, the city is still closed and hills of rubbish are spread everywhere except in some streets where they started cleaning up the rubbish. As for bakeries, few are opened but hundreds of people are waiting their turn and fighting for bread, where you need between 5 to 10 hours to buy 2 kgs of bread ! And as a gift a guy from my church brought me today 2 kgs of bread since we are out of bread at home ! So u can imagine the gifts we are giving each other’s these days. Today, Sunday Morning, it was nice to hear some church bells ringing announcing the beginning of prayers. We still have electricity and water which is a great blessing. One of the very tragic situations is seeing people with some of their stuff on the sidewalks of the streets and in public gardens wondering what to do or where to go because they lost their houses or ran away because of the fights. Please keep praying for us, we are really in need.

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