We are starting our third winter out here with the Syrian refugees, and the challenges remain the same as before.
It’s something we take for granted back in the USA where central heat is pretty much ubiquitous. Any kind of outage in the winter where people could lose heat and become cold is swiftly addressed by proactive city services.
Out here there is no such safety net. The small rooms most refugees rent to live in don’t come with heat. If they can’t afford a small diesel-powered heater, they freeze. If the heater runs out of fuel, there are no city services to call for help.
Nobody cares if they have no fuel. They just end up in the cold.
Often the kids get sick from lack of adequate heat during the winters. Some, like the family in the main picture on this post, are fortunate to have a small heater, and the kids all sleep around it at night to stay warm, sharing the small room with their parents too.
This is a difficult time for all the refugees, but especially the ones in the mountains and upper valley area that we work with who experience below-freezing temps and snow frequently through the winter months.
They try to cope, but often it is a choice between food, rent, medicine for their sick family members or fuel to stay warm. That’s a hard choice for anybody to make, and I wonder what we would choose if we were in the same spot.
Some families, desperate to make the heating fuel stretch, will mix diesel fuel with cooking oil, as it is cheaper. It makes the fuel last longer, but certainly doesn’t burn as warm.
God Already Provided Over 30 Heaters!
Last winter, the Lord provided the ability to help several hundred refugees with both heaters and heating fuel. We are praying for the ability to do the same this year. We are thankful that in the past month God already provided for us to purchase over 30 heaters for refugee families in our area and a cold valley area bordering Syria.
Some of the pictures here are from those refugees who received heaters this past month. The Lord answered prayer for this need specifically, as the need was not even known publicly at the time, thanks to some (perhaps some of you reading this) who felt moved to give but did not even know this particular need yet!
We are already being asked by many families if there will be heating fuel this year. We don’t know what God will do. But we trust that if the need is as great this year as last, the Lord will do something to fill that need.