It was called the ‘capital of the revolution.’ Years of heavy fighting between rebels and government have turned Homs, in Syria, to a mass of debris and rubble. But now, thanks to the generosity of Open Doors supporters, Christians are returning to their houses.
“We visited our apartment; it was 70% damaged,” says Maha who has returned to Homs with her husband Souliman and her sister. “But it’s not as bad as many of the other buildings.” Maha bears the scars of the conflict. During her escape from Homs she was shot in the leg by a sniper. “We are so happy that we could return to live in our house. Thank you for your support to repair our house. Without that help, we wouldn’t be able to return.”
Sounds of silence
In 2016 Open Doors was able to help 31 families restore their houses in Homs. In the first half of 2017 some 66 families were helped to return to Homs, Daraa, Damascus and Maaloula. It is a huge challenge. Homs was once home to over a million people. Now complete neighborhoods lie desolate.
“What strikes you most is the silence,” says an Open Doors worker, “the complete absence of any sound of living beings in some parts.”
Elderly couple Antoon Mansoor and Basima Abo Jamd fled from their house in Homs when it was hit by a mortar shell. “It was a miracle that we weren’t injured,” Antoon says. “There was shrapnel flying all around, but I wasn’t hit.”
Now their house smells of fresh paint. “Thanks to your support we could return here,” says Basima “Of course, we always were thankful to God that we were safe. But we also hoped that one day we would be able to return.”
Basima and Antoon spent five years in exile. “I didn’t expect that we would be able to come back here,” says Basima. “I am so happy! I thank God that He sent us people like you to help us. ”
The couple have been helped to settle by their local priest. “I was afraid we couldn’t repair this house, it was so damaged,” he says. “But when I talked with Open Doors they agreed to help. I am so happy that we could finish the house before the winter comes. This house has been family property for over 100 years.”
“Now I feel much better, much stronger,” says Antoon. “I can breathe again, I am happy.”
- Thank God that families are able to return to Homs and other areas
- For continued provisions and funds to restore more houses for those longing to return home
- That the Hope for Middle East petition would move governments to set policies that protect Christians in the Middle East.