A minister from Aleppo in Syria has made an impassioned plea for the world to focus on the war raging in his country.
Addressing the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland taking place in Edinburgh this week, Rev Ibrahim Nseir highlighted the kidnapping of priests and bishops, as well as violent crimes committed against ordinary Christians.
The pastor from the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon is holding services in a fifth floor flat with no water or power as his church building was surrounded by bombs which were then detonated by anti-Christian aggressors.
He expressed thanks for prayers and practical assistance offered by the Church of Scotland and other faith communities but he called for more.
“Praying gives us a vision of the global church. Praying is very important but something else should be done. In helping refugees outside Syria the Church of Scotland plays an important role by helping to deal with that.
“Christians are dealing with huge difficulties. Christians are leaving Syria. Is the global church going to watch that? They are uprooted. This is their country. They face violence against their children and their property. They live without peace, without justice.”
Rev Nseir, 44, who is a guest of the Church of Scotland’s World Mission Council, says the Syrian government has ring fenced a piece of land for a new church but the congregation does not as yet have the funds to erect a building.
The Assembly also heard a first hand account of the devastation wreaked by a succession of earthquakes in Nepal. Rev Ram Kumar Budhathoki, age 40, of Nepal Ebenezer Bible College, was with his congregation when the tremors began.
He said: “The microphone went off then the light, then the ground shook slowly at first then very strongly. People started screaming and holding each other trying to stand still. Then we got out. There was dust everywhere. We found we had all survived.
“I ran to my house where my two year old son was. I found Jason and his grandmother clinging to each other, both crying.”
Continuing he told the Assembly: “At this difficult time we thank you for all your support. Around 8,500 people have lost their lives, 20,000 are seriously injured. The survivors are traumatised.
“We have lost buildings and seeds are lost under the mud. We want your prayer and need practical support to rebuild the country. Please send us your help and encouragement. Please continue to keep yourselves informed about what is happening.”