October 3, 2014

​Airstrikes May Worsen Refugee Crisis

©2014 Baptist Press

Airstrikes now underway in northern
Syria against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) will worsen an already
heart-breaking refugee crisis, a Christian worker in the Middle East says.

During just three days last
week, at least 130,000 new Syrian refugees flooded across the border into
Turkey because of an ISIS offensive in their hometowns. More than 3 million
officially registered refugees have been driven out of the country amid the
four years of crisis in Syria.

"The current strikes
inside Syria are bound to increase the already overwhelming flood of displaced
people fleeing to find safety," Don Alan*, a Christian worker in the
region, said. "Families desiring safety for their children will look for
places that are safe and quiet."

Southern Baptist Convention
President Ronnie Floyd called on Southern Baptists to pray for beleaguered
Christians in Iraq and Syria just hours before news of the airstrikes broke.

"Perhaps you know or
maybe you don't, but currently in Iraq and Syria we are witnessing a once-in-a-thousand-year
destruction of the Christian church. A modern book of martyrs is being
written," Floyd said. "We need to elevate before our churches the
international crisis in Iraq and Syria."

"Pastors and Christian
leaders, educate yourself and speak up on behalf of these brothers and sisters
in your churches and on social media. Don't let the world ignore this,"
Floyd said. "I call upon each of us tonight as Southern Baptists to be a
voice that resounds loudly and clearly about this issue."

Alan echoed Floyd's call to
prayer for suffering refugees -- among whom Christians are a minority -- and
the workers risking their lives to help them.

"We should be
challenged to not only increase our prayers, but also be broken for the
continued challenges faced by those being impacted by the fighting and bombings
going in their country," Alan said.

"Pray for courage as
we continue to minister and share the love of Christ in the midst of such
turmoil," Alan added. "We know that the Lord's desire is that not one
should perish without having a chance to hear the good news, that there can be
peace on earth in the midst of such traumatic events. May we not grow

*Name changed.