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Syrian Refugees Continues


BOOK NOTES


Julia White and Deborah Van Broekhoven, George Liele’s Life and Legacy: An Unsung Hero (Macon: Mercer University Press, 2012)


This book is a very valuable resource provided by scholars who understand the signifi cant contribution of George Liele, the African American Baptist pastor who pioneered Baptist work in Jamaica before William Carey ministered in India. Readers will fi nd lucid characterizations of the contemporary world in which Liele served and the context in which Liele ministered in the US. Painstaking research precedes a well-crafted biographical profi le of Liele and his legacy on three continents. Among the contributors are Horace Russell, Deborah Broekhoven,, Carlisle Driggers, Noel Erskine and Winston Lawson. At the recent BWA Gathering in Ocho Rios, members of the historic Friendship Baptist Church, in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, presented complimentary copies of George Liele’s Life and Legacy to ministers of the Jamaica Baptist Union. Interim pastor of this mission-minded church is Emanuel McCall, a former BWA vice president.


Alfred B. Johnson, Ambassador to the Global Village


Bernard M.


Spooner, General Editor, Handbook for Baptists


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28 BAPTIST WORLD MAGAZINE


the current school year…” When asked how we can pray for them, together, they said: “Pray for peace for Syria that we may be able to go back.”


the LSESD team prayed with them and left, heading for another


refugee family that lives a few minutes away, in a rundown garage. “When the fi ghting intensifi ed, we left our village for a couple of days hoping to return once things calm down. Yet, when we tried to go back, we were not allowed to enter our village again. We moved from one place to the other seeking work, yet could not fi nd any. Eventually, my husband and I decided to come to Lebanon where it is safer for our two kids. It’s already been fi ve months or so since we came. Our children still jump with fright at the slamming of a door, or the sound of a car or truck. But at least they now sleep at night, Sana stated. “Moreover, both my children now go to Sunday school and they’re happy there. Look at their drawings”, she said, pointing to four brightly-colored drawings that are scotch-taped unto the dark wall of the dimly lit one-room garage they now call home. For some, it was the death of their loved ones that led them to


give up and leave. Others went through near-death experiences that led them to fl ee. Najat is a young woman in her mid-twenties who was shot by a sniper on her way home to her husband and child. “We knew that our neighborhood was not safe but we had nowhere to go and so had learned to maneuver our way in between the alleys. But this time the sniper got me as I neared our building. I felt the heat in my leg and I knew that if I as much as slowed down the next bullet will be aimed at my head. I ran as if my life depended on it, because it did. Once I made it to our apartment, I leaned on the door and all I could think of was that I needed to lie down. I did not immediately tell my husband, knowing that the sniper may still be out there ready for the next victim.” Najat’s family was only able to leave for the hospital several hours


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later when their friend parked his van directly at the entrance of their building, blocking the view of the sniper so they could literally jump in while the bullets whizzed over their heads. Still limping from her injury, Najat spoke of how their lives changed drastically since then. “My husband had a small furniture workshop in the same building where we lived. Yet, we realized the day I got shot that it would be crazy to go back to our neighborhood again. Sadly, we left behind our home and our source of income, and moved from one shelter to the other, displaced within our own country. Neither my husband nor I could fi nd work. And so to survive, we decided to come to Lebanon. Perhaps we stand a better chance here. But here we are today, still jobless, and still moving from one shelter to the next. The only difference is that we’re now refugees in Lebanon. We’re not used to this! Will this nightmare ever come to an end?!” Jamila, a 33-year old mother who shares a tent with her husband and 16 children, the eldest a teenager, voiced a growing concern that many refugee families in Lebanon today share. “We sought refuge in Lebanon from the violence in Syria. Yet, today we live in fear of what will become of us should something bad happen here! What do we do then?”


Their pain and anxiety are deep. As Lebanese, we’ve been there before and we know that what Syrians need most today is a sense of hope. LSESD are constantly encouraged to share the reason for our hope when we hear such statements as “you stood by us in our hour of need… tell us why!”


*N.B. The names of the people in this article have been changed for their safety.


Alia Abboud is director of Development & Partner Relations at the Lebanese Society for Educational & Social Development in Lebanon.

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