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Bible Society’s Nabil Saad reads from a children’s Bible at a Scripture distribution event in Syria.

Light overcomes darkness in Syria

Nabil Saad began working for Bible Society in Syria seven years ago, helping traumatised victims of violence look to Jesus for hope and healing. Nabil said, ‘While doing that, I realised more and more how important sowing the seeds of the gospel is.’ The kind giving of people such as yourself now helps Nabil and his team provide more Bibles to more people in a country that has been wracked with conflict for 11 years. Here Nabil, now programme co-ordinator for Bible Society in Syria, answers questions on Bible mission in the country.

How does Bible mission survive and flourish in Syria?

‘It’s all got to do with people. If we just sit behind a computer, I don’t believe that Bible mission will make much of an impact. It’s the personal touch that changes Bible Society from an organisation into a movement and makes the waves of God’s love move in all directions. Our goal is all of this country and we are racking our brains and looking into the heart of Jesus to see where we go from here.’

How hard is it to stay in Syria?

‘It’s extremely hard. The war isn’t over yet. People are still being killed. A Lebanese friend of ours says: “If we in Lebanon are living in hell and you want to find where the people of Syria are living you must take the lift and go 14 stories below our hell!”’

 How do you remain positive to overcome the obstacles facing Bible work in Syria?

‘By looking into the eyes of Jesus. They are so bright and they glisten with tears, because he shows us how people all around us are like sheep without a shepherd. You might not understand this, but here Jesus is our only hope!’

What are the challenges that you face when taking Scriptures to remote areas?

‘We load our van with more than 20 boxes packed with Scriptures and books. At the several checkpoints we pass we might have to take out all of our boxes and show the contents. You must be prepared for this and keep your temper. So, we don’t only pray for safety on the roads, but also for “loving and nice” people manning the checkpoints.

A Big Bible Distribution Day in Syria

‘One time it was really cold in the van and my wife was with me. She hadn’t forgotten that it was our wedding anniversary, so out comes the cake, which she baked just before we took off. But what to cut it with? Yes, a screwdriver will have to do the job. And then something smashes against the windscreen and it breaks. We can hardly see the road because of snowfall, but we make it to the next town. We pray they have a glass windscreen for our particular van, and believe it or not, there is one, only one! Another miracle. Time to drive on. It’s getting late. Where will we sleep? When we arrive at the home of a pastor, he finds a bed for my wife. As for me, despite the cold, I slept quite well, on a mattress of hundreds of Bibles.

‘The next day, you should have seen the faces of the people who had never seen such a variety of Scriptures and spiritual books. Something for everyone! Some of the books sold out and we started writing down the names of people who wanted copies.’

When is the last time your job put a smile on your face?

‘Two weeks ago it was just so incredibly cold here at the Bible Society house in Aleppo. We contacted a man, Abu Sobhi, to install an old kerosene heater. We did enjoy the warmth! So, we asked Abu what he wanted in return and he said, “I would love to have an injeel (the word for Gospel)!” One of us went to get a large New Testament with the Psalms. Abu couldn’t thank us enough. He was the only person in his entire apartment block with a New Testament. His smile made us warmer than the heater.’

This story first appeared in our Bible a Month prayer letter. By joining Bible a Month with a regular gift of £10 or more you enable the Bible to reach more people. Find out more about Bible a Month.

Support work like Nabil’s in the Middle East now 

Author: Simon Bartz, 5 May 2022

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