A Syrian Farmer's Story

Mo and his wife Fay (borrowed names) live in a remote village in Syria. Twice they were attacked by Nusra militants trying to take over their village. Being a young man, he and many of his friends and family went to the battle lines to defend their homes and families. He carried an AK-47 and waited with four or five others for the attackers to come. He also carried a Bible with him, which is very unusual because people in that area are not Christian. In the thick of battle with bullets whizzing around them and mortar fire raining on them from above, Mo would take out his Bible and start reading Psalm 23 out loud. He said he noticed that he did more good reading his Bible than shooting his gun. In many instances the attackers would back off unexpectedly when he prayed and read. It became a regular strategy for the men on the front lines to ask Mo to read a passage of scripture in the heat of battle; their favorite passages were Psalm 23, 91, and 121. They also loved reading Matthew 11:28, "come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest." They were longing for rest and often in the calm between attacks they would sit and dream of what they would do with their lives if they had rest and peace around them.

Miraculously, The villagers were able to keep Al Nusra out of their little village, but only at a great cost. Dozens of young men were killed in battle and many civilians died in bombings on homes and even schools. Mo lost his brother, his brother-in-law, his cousin, and three very dear friends. His heart was broken and at times he wondered if God cared or was aware of their situation.

Mo has made progress on the healing path and he has come out of the war with something precious. He gained the perspective that God's message of hope and salvation through Jesus Christ is the only means to peace. He realized that the Bible is more effective than a rifle and prayer is better than bullets. So Mo decided to be an agent of transformation in his community. He determined to teach the Bible to his friends and family and to help them earn a living by providing employment. After careful study of the available resources in his area and with the help of CBS Lebanon, he embarked on developing a sustainable dairy farm with a chapel area for prayer and teaching on a piece of property that he owns.

He wants to preserve some of the established dairy production traditions in his area, but he also wants to improve them by adopting green and sustainable practices. He started by building a pond to gather rainfall and a barn design that promotes a clean environment for the milking cows and goats. He also plans to use organically grown alfalfa and lentil stalks as feed. The farm and dairy operation will provide employment for 6 or 7 men and women, which means livelihood for many families.

Often when we witness human tragedy, in Syria and throughout the world, we wonder what we can do to help. How can we make a difference? CBS Lebanon believes that the best way to help people like Mo is to empower them in their vision and mission to transform their own communities. Here is something for you to do: support Mo with your finances and prayers and pray for more people like him to gain a vision for transforming their community. A gift of $20 can make a significant impact in places like Mo's village, so please pray and consider giving to CBS Lebanon so we can help others.

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