Syria (MNN) – Every day Druze believers in Syria face struggles ranging from familial and government sanctioned persecution to a lack of resources. They are a minority in every country they live in. Yet despite the difficulties, Arab for All Ministries (AFA) reports great growth in the Druze Church.
Who are the Druze?
The Druze are a unique ethnic and religious group that exist primarily in four countries: Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel. They split off from Islam in the 11th century. The differences are very clear now. After the split, the Druze blended beliefs from other ways of thought like reincarnation and Greek philosophy into their own new religion.
Druze people are notoriously secretive. The close-knit community is skeptical of outsiders because it has been heavily persecuted throughout the years. The Druze also do not engage in proselytizing, as the only way to become a Druze is to be born into a family with two Druze parents.
Ministering to the Druze
Despite the closed-off nature of the community, Arab for All Ministries has been burdened to reach this group. For several years now they have been planting churches and hosting Bible studies among the Druze people. Despite intense pressure for Druze to remain in their faith, our contact Issam, who works with AFA, has seen the Lord at work.
Druze serving coffee (Courtesy of Itamar Grinberg with IsraelTourism on Flickr)
“Years ago we planted a church in Lebanon among the Druze and God gave us another vision to go to Syria. And we planted another church in Syria and many Druze came to the Lord. They started with more leaders small groups. And now the ministry is growing like in every village, every city in Lebanon, Syria, and also Jordan.”
People are coming to know Jesus as Savior and they are hungry for more knowledge about the Gospel.
Druze believers in Syria
Recently Issam was able to work with Druze believers for a week. He led daily Bible studies, encouraged believers and leaders, and saw the church planting ministry in Syria.
Issam used Jesus’ parables to teach truth in the sessions and was encouraged by the questions people were asking.
“I met more than 60 people this week and all of them were very interested to know more and more about stories from the Bible. And, of course, many of them are asking why Jesus, why the Bible, not other prophets, not other books. And I was able to share why Jesus only is the way to eternal life. And people were really, really so happy about what we’re doing there.”
Bringing the Gospel to their loved ones
The small group of Druze believers is growing. They are seeing the faithful witness of Jesus through AFA and the local Druze Christian leaders. However, coming to faith in Christ often means being ostracized from their family. For people in a small community, this is devastating. AFA disciples Druze believers and helps them learn how to share their new faith in Christ without immediately turning off their families.
“They become like strangers in the family when they believe in Jesus. So our strategy is to teach them how to stay in the society and show the love of God through Jesus without saying ‘We are Christian.’ They can say, ‘We are followers of Jesus Christ even though we are Druze.’”
This strategy allows them to share their faith with those they care about most: their own families!
How can you pray?
Issam offered up three ways to pray for the AFA ministry to Syrian Druze.
Pray for new leaders. The Druze Church is growing and they need more leaders to help disciple the people who are coming to know Christ as Savior.
Pray for the leaders that are already at work among the Druze. They are working in a place where it is difficult to be open about their faith in Christ. Pray that they would have wisdom and joy in their work.
Pray for resources. The Druze believers are working with very little resources. Pray that God would provide for them with enough food, clothing, and other resources so they can minister to others without fearing for the well-being of their families.
If you want to see more ways to pray for the Syrian Church click here.