It’s hard to believe but as of this week we count 49 refugee babies delivered since we began helping pregnant Syrian refugee women last year.
It’s been a busy year! Many midnight scrambles to distant hospitals with pregnant refugee women in active labor in the car. Many trying times praying for finances for helping the next delivery due any day, often with nothing available in the relief fund until the very last minute.
Many sorrows as well as some babies were still born, or died shortly after birth due to congenital defects incompatible with life. While we’ve been thankful to help these many Syrian refugee women welcome new life into this world, we have had times where all we could do is comfort some of them as that life quickly faded away in a NICU or ended up being a still birth.
There’s been some unexpected excitement along the way as well. At least two of the deliveries happened before it was possible to get to a hospital. One Syrian woman who was too poor to even own a mobile phone to call and let us know she was in labor walked to the house of our translator. Once she arrived in front of the house, she was already laboring so hard she delivered on the sidewalk before our translator could even get her in her car to start the 45 minute drive to the hospital. Thankfully the baby and mom were ok that time! And thankfully we had a US midwife out here last year to provide some birth training so our translator knew how to deliver the baby, even though it was on the side of the road!
There has also been ample opportunity for the Gospel, as every one of these women is visited by our helpers and receives a Bible after sharing with them about Christ. They also come to outreach meetings where a more extensive message in Arabic is shared. Each of these 49 refugee babies represents a unique opportunity God has given to show compassion to a destitute Syrian refugee family and point them to the truths of the Bible.
Looking Ahead To Future Births
We paused this week to review this program and see if it is something God still wants us to do. We have 10 more women imminently due and in their final trimester. We have a growing waiting list of over 40 more Syrian refugee women potentially eligible for this program (we conduct screening visits to assess poverty level/need first before agreeing to help).
While we have 49 babies behind us the God has provided for, the needs ahead are rapidly increasing and overwhelming our limited resources, and we are praying for several things. Perhaps you could pray with us too for the following:
#1 – Continued cooperation from local hospitals. We have had an increasing number of hospitals refuse to work with us for various reasons, but often because they know we are evangelicals helping refugees and they don’t like that. If we cannot find a hospital willing to take pregnant refugee women, we have no way to continue.
#2 – An additional female helper who can speak or learn Arabic. One of the main purposes of this help is to be involved in the Syrian women’s lives to reach them with the Gospel while helping with pre-natals and post-birth issues. That’s only possible for women to do in this culture. Our limited number of available, trusted female helpers is already stretched to the max. There is a tremendous amount more we could do for these Syrian refugee women if we simply had more women willing to come help out here.
#3 – More birth sponsors. We rejoice that we can – and often do – tell grateful Muslim refugee families that their babies needs were met by Christians from the West who don’t even know them, but because these Christians love Jesus they also love strangers to help them in real ways. This is unfathomable to many refugees out here, as their own family members and clan often would not help them. But here are total strangers from churches in the West sacrificially giving thousands of dollars so their baby can be born and live. We know this is God’s provision, but we also know it comes through real people like those of you reading this update, and without people willing to sponsor these births we simply cannot continue forward. About half of these babies end up in the NICU due to birth complications/infections or birth defects as well, which has made this a substantial financial obligation to keep helping with. So, we pray for this regularly as well.
We’ve prayed about this program and believe God wants us to continue it, but without specific answers to these above three requests we don’t feel that we have final confirmation. Without a collaborating hospital, without more people to help, and without needed finances, we’d have to take this as a closed door.
We can be thankful for the 49 babies behind us, but we don’t know if there will be another 49 ahead of us at this point, so please pray with us!