Texas Baptists respond to Syrian Refugee Crisis


With little more than clothes on their backs, displaced Syrian families are fleeing their war-torn homeland daily, seeking refuge as far away as the United States.

But some neighboring countries have been welcoming refugees since the Syrian conflict first began in 2011. The United Nations records that close to 1.08 million registered Syrian refugees have settled in Lebanon, a small country just west of Syria, totaling to nearly one-fourth of the Lebanese population.

In response to the crisis, Texas Baptists have come alongside their close partner, the Lebanese Society for Education and Social Development (LSESD), to bring relief to Syrians who are seeking refuge in Lebanon.

Nabil Costa, executive director of the LSESD, shared in a recent article published on Ethics Daily that Lebanese Christians initially feared helping refugees, but soon came to a heartfelt realization, which convicted them to show compassion.

"Most refugees are innocent people who were living in peace and have nothing to do with the conflict," he wrote. "As Christians, we couldn't look the other way while they suffered. We couldn't follow Jesus and ignore the plight of desperate refugees."

However, it is not easy, he admitted. In addition to hostility they may encounter, providing enough food and supplies for a group of such large proportions is often overwhelming. For this reason, they call on their Christian brothers and sisters around the world, such as Texas Baptists, to help.

Many of the refugees have settled in tents and have little to no money for food and simple necessities.

In the coming months, many refugees fear their own lives as they prepare to face brutal winter temperatures, which traditionally bring heavy snowstorms, an adversary of flimsy tents and thin clothing.

The Texas Baptists' Refugee Relief Project will send funds to the LSESD for the provision of blankets, mattresses, stoves and fuel vouchers, as well as Arabic Bibles and scriptures summaries.

"Be the Good Samaritan that refugees desperately need," Costa pleaded to global philanthropists. "It will be a challenge, but it will also be a blessing."

In last year's successful efforts, contributors helped fund over $17,000 worth of winter survival materials, which were distributed by local churches.

Now is the time, as the harsh winter months approach, to impact the lives of Syrian refugees settling in Lebanon. To contribute or to learn more, visit texasbaptists.org/refugeerelief.

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