Editor's note: Hanna is a Christian woman living in Damascus, Syria, with her husband. She and her husband have two young daughters. Hanna, who works in a school, tells us what daily life is like in Damascus.
The schools have started again, so we get back to the uncertainty. We are getting up very early to pray and fast whenever our daughters are not at home. Every day when I walk to the school I work at I hold my breath; every minute something can happen. Many streets are closed and when you walk the streets you see the traces of the battle: little fires all over the streets. Also in our house you see the traces of the war: we already noticed a bullet hole in our guest room, but recently I also discovered one in the room of my girls.
A few days ago when I passed one of the churches on the street I saw a man on the phone in front of it. I don’t know what it was, but somehow I felt that there was something wrong. I overheard him talking on the phone, he said: “Aim close and very near to the main door of the church. I am here now, aim exactly at this place.” When I came home I told my husband: “They are going to attack that church, I know it.” My husband thought I was wrong, but half an hour later we heard that the church was attacked by a mortar. It wasn’t the first church that was attacked. In fact attacks on churches happen a lot now. They are also targeting Christians. Many of them are killed or kidnapped. When they are kidnapped they ask their families for ransom or they force them to convert to Islam.
Women are often raped. The people that return from such events are traumatized. One of the men I know that came back from a kidnapping didn’t speak a word since he came back. He is crying a lot. Nobody knows what happened to him.
People wonder why I am still staying in this country. I ask myself the same question time after time. As a mother and as a wife I want to leave, but as a Christian I want to stay. Every time my husband and I pray, God gives us a burden on our heart: stay in Syria. He has things to do for us here. God will bless Syria, know this for sure. He is already blessing us. Every time we go to church, the church is full; people come together in times of despair.
We also see new faces every time. Many of the new faces are people with a Muslim background who are refugees. They say: “We’ve lost everything: our house, our job, family members. But we have gained the most important thing: the knowledge that Jesus is our Savior.” Recently 30 people in our church were baptized. Three or four of them were from a Muslim background. The situation is hard, but we are living by faith.
c. 2013 Open Doors USA. Used with permission.
Publication date: October 17, 2013