Disabled Syrian Teenager Crosses Borders

  • Nov. 30, 2015
  • #8761

A Syrian teenager with cerebral palsy makes the difficult journey to Greece. But many other people with disabilities and the elderly are left behind.

Disabled Syrian Teenager Crosses Borders

I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with something important for you to pray about.

I'm sure you are aware of the massive emigration of Syrian refugees escaping ISIS. It is an unimaginable crisis as hundreds of thousands of displaced people keep flooding into Europe. Many of them – certainly not all of them – many of them are Iraqi and Syrian Christians who have been completely uprooted from their homes. Their churches are some of the most ancient in the world, some dating back to the first century. But now, it seems the Christian faith has been wiped off the map in that part of the Middle East, and these refugees are struggling to not only find a home, but hold on to hope.

And they continue to pour into Europe. Whether crossing land on foot, or embarking on a dangerous boat trip across the Mediterranean, hundreds of thousands of displaced persons are looking for help. Ken and I first learned about this crisis back in, oh, February or March and throughout this year, we’ve been praying over it (it’s the largest emigration of refugees since WWII). But as I’ve read the news, I keep wondered ‘What about the disabled? What about the elderly and those in wheelchairs? What is happening to them?Well, not long ago, I saw a BBC interview with Noujain Mustaffa, a young Syrian teenager with cerebral palsy. Sitting in an old rickety wheelchair, she and her sister had fled Syria and had made the long difficult journey all the way across Turkey. From there, they crowded into a small rubber raft with other refugees and crossed into Greece. It was in Greece that a BBC reporter spotted this happy16-year-old in her wheelchair. Noujain was so excited, so hopeful and so happy that she had reached southern Europe. As I watched the video of their interview, this girl was so bright, so optimistic. She kept telling BBC reporter, “You’ve got to think the best, and I look at this journey as an adventure!”

By the way, I would love for you to see this video and I have posted it today on joniandfriends.org. But there’s a reason why I want you to see it. Because there are thousands of young people with disabilities, (and elderly people too), who are in need of our prayers. Since hearing about Noujain Mustaffa, I have learned that most refugees who are elderly and infirmed and disabled are left behind in Greece and Macedonia, Slovenia and Kosovo while their family members head north into Europe hoping to find refuge. But if you have been reading the news reports, the picture is pretty bleak. And it’s especially bleak for the elderly and disabled.

So, would you join me in praying that God will wake up the church in Europe? Join me in asking the Holy Spirit to touch their hearts to help, whether providing food, blankets or clothing. And ask God to give leaders in Europe real wisdom as to how to compassionately address this humanitarian crisis. And please pray for the elderly refugees and the ones like Noujain Mustaffa who have disabilities. May God pour out His mercy as well as spread His Gospel among these thousands of people who are struggling against hopelessness. And to get more insight, please visit my radio page today at joniandfriends.org and watch this special BBC interview with this 16-year-old Syrian girl with cerebral palsy. And thank you, bless you for joining me and the team at Joni and Friends in praying for God's plan and purposes to be accomplished in the Middle East. Again, visit my radio page at joniandfriends.org.

© Joni and Friends


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