Dear Members and Friends of The Vine Fellowship Church:
It is hard to believe that another Christmas will have come and gone by the time you receive and read this edition of TVFNews. As I write this letter on December 20, I am reminded that while we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, there are places around the world where peace is something people pray for and yearn for. And even though politicians are at odds with themselves in Washington, D. C. and many have drawn lines and appear unable to work together for the good of the people, there are places that have it far worse than we could ever dream or imagine.
Having visited Lebanon in 2016 and Lebanon and Syria in 2018, my world attention is always drawn to the plight of our brothers and sisters in Christ in those two countries. And not only the Christians but the moderate Muslims who want to live in peace. Lebanon is a unique country as they are the first democracy that emerged in the Middle East that was the first experiment of Christian/Muslim partnership and coexistence that has emerged since World War I. Syria is a different story but it is a country where Christians are protected by the government.
As we begin this New Year, I ask you to pray for our sisters and brothers in Christ in that part of the world. Especially in northeastern Syria in the aftermath of the invasion of Turkey, a move that many in that region long feared. A December newsletter from the Director of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus, shares the following. “This area of Syria has suffered greatly throughout the long Syrian war. Water systems have been destroyed, and car bombs and shelling indiscriminately affect noncombatants. Hundreds of ISIL fighters and have escaped from Kurdish or U. S. military-guarded detention have engaged in the execution of Kurds. Hundreds of thousands of other Syrians are at risk and in need of humanitarian support, beyond the two million who have been displaced over the border into Turkey earlier in the war. It is the intent of the Turkish government to force-relocate these refugees back over the border into this part of Syria, even though many are not ethnic Kurds, and such forced relocation will improve neither their condition nor their security.”
This past November you gave to a “special offering” for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance that will go to support this unanticipated and urgent need. In total, we will be sending $680. Many thanks, and may you and yours have a healthy and happy 2020.
Yours in Christ and on the Journey together,