Life was good for many families in Syria. But that all changed in 2011 when war broke out and citizens were forced to uproot their lives and flee for safety.
Imali, a Syrian refugee now living in Lebanon, has seven children ranging from 9 months to 11 years. During the war in Syria, she lived day to day, fearful as she saw buildings collapse and bombs exploding in the streets.
“For the two years, we lived in this war zone; it felt like 12 years,” she said. “I used to shut all the windows and doors so that the kids wouldn’t hear the sounds as loud.”
Hoping the war would end, Imali continued living with her family in Syria as long as possible. However, as time went on, staying became increasingly difficult. Bread and flour were no longer available, and it was too dangerous to travel away from home.
“We didn’t leave immediately because this was our land,” Imali said. “Eventually we had to move and go somewhere safer. Shortly after we left, we found out our house had been robbed and there was nothing left.”
With no possessions and conflict intensifying, it was no longer safe for Imali and her family to stay in Syria. They made the difficult decision to flee to Lebanon as refugees, where they lived in a tent. From there, they were introduced to a Christian church in partnership with World Renew, whose members provided support and resources such as mattresses, a stove, and other items for winter. They also connected the children with a nearby school.
“The church came to us from the beginning, and to this day they are the only ones helping us,” Imali said.
Imali’s family has been able to move to a more permanent structure because of the support they’ve received from World Renew and the local church in Lebanon. Stories like Imali’s show the value in having global church partnerships as we continue to equip people in need around the world and transform lives as we share the love of Christ.
With help, Imali has been able to rebuild a life for her and her children. However, while the family has been able to resettle in Lebanon, Imali will never forget the home she was forced to leave behind.
“I miss Syria like I miss a family member,” she said. “Syria is still our country. I wish there was peace everywhere, not just peace for me and my children. I wish that no one would have to live through what we’ve been through.”
Imali is not living the life she imagined for herself or her family, yet World Renew and the broader church have worked tirelessly with her and others to transform a situation of trauma and grief into one of grace and peace.