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This Letter From a Syrian Refugee Is Heartbreaking

A boy, displaced from fighting in the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa walks in desert as he carries bread near village of Karama, east of Raqqa, Syria July 1, 2017.
A boy, displaced from fighting in the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa walks in desert as he carries bread near village of Karama, east of Raqqa, Syria July 1, 2017. | (Photo: REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)

Chances are you've read about the refugee crisis. You've seen the videos and the photos in the news. But there's nothing like hearing about it from someone who is living it.

World Help recently received this letter from a Syrian refugee. It's heartbreaking, but we had to share it. We knew you would want to read it and help:

First of all, I would like to say that Syria was a beautiful country — everything was cheap and available, people had jobs, schools, and lives — until the war started.

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People were working, eating, traveling to the sea for the holiday, taking care of their relatives, and in general enjoying life. When something bad happened, everyone was surprised.

But after the war started and after my family became refugees, everything changed. Poverty became normal, and we were no longer surprised when we heard about someone dying from hunger or thirst. It was "normal" to us when we heard about women [going] to work as prostitutes to make some money to support their families.

We were forced to buy water and barely earned enough to pay for our most basic bills. Talking with other Syrian refugee families, I have had the chance to hear hundreds of stories about what happened to these families and how they left their relatives to work and to do whatever they could to survive.

Personally, I suffered a lot during these events. To understand my feelings, I would like to ask about your feelings if everything you built in your life — your house, your job, your car, your relationships — suddenly vanished for a sin that you never did.

I believe there are no words that can explain what is in my mind and heart.

It's hard to imagine what refugees are going through ... but letters like this one make it a little more real.

The man who wrote this letter stresses the fact that he used to be just like you and me before he became a refugee. In fact, after speaking with him more, our partners learned he was once a lawyer. He married his college sweetheart, and they had two beautiful children — a boy and a girl.

But when the war came, he lost everything.

"My house was destroyed by a bomb," he said. "My office was taken over by a militant group, and all I had built from the beginning had gone away — even my papers and my money. It meant I had nothing."

What would you do if you suddenly found yourself in a similar situation ... if your life savings disappeared, if your home were demolished, and you had no way to provide for your family?

Most likely, you would probably pray. And that's what this man is doing, too.

Despite all the trauma and loss he has experienced, he is trusting that God will take care of him.

The reality is people like the man who wrote this letter still desperately need your help... even if their daily struggle for survival is no longer front-page news. In fact, many refugees have been living far from home for years, and they are starting to lose hope.

Since the beginning of the Syrian refugee crisis, our organization, World Help, has been on the ground providing emergency aid to families who have been driven out of their homes by the conflict. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we've had the privilege of seeing despair turn into hope time and time again. We've seen it in the face of a refugee mother when she hears the medicine her son desperately needs is available and in the eyes of a father who knows his children will have a meal that day.

A refugee's road to recovery is long and difficult. But if we come alongside and walk it with them, the farther they'll go — and the stronger our efforts of love will become.

Rachel Godwin writes for World Help, a Christian humanitarian organization serving the physical and spiritual needs of people in impoverished communities around the world.

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