“God does not elect the excellent but brings the elect to excellence”
Emmanuel Community in Aleppo, November 2017 Update
Hardened by five years of battle in their city, the brethren from Emmanuel Community in Aleppo Syria, exhibit a new sense of selflessness and trust in the Lord’s providence. They just finished a quarterly retreat for teaching, inspiration and character building; and if one hears their praise reports, it is now almost completely about the victory and the transforming power of the Words of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Following the retreat, a dozen community members shared about this new confidence in the Lord. A young woman shared an insight to the vibrant sound of “Amen” in the room she was addressing: “God does not elect the excellent but brings the elect to excellence”. Amen!
This exuberance is coupled with realism. “Our battle is a spiritual one” exclaims a man, the spiritual protections that they experience by being with each other in mutual support, dwindles quickly if not nurtured by constant vigilance and prayer.
New opportunities are opening up for members to share their faith. Members, young and old, enthusiastically look to tell their friends and relatives about the sweetness of living for God. “My atheist classmate whom I had not seen for a while, surprised me when he asked me about my faith and told me of his desire to change” tells a young student.
Members have also learned how to sacrifice important things in their lives for spiritual gain. For many, personal comfort, worry about the future and even career, take backstage for the sake of selling all to buy the “pearl of great price”.
From what they spoke about, it is obvious that at this stage, members of Emmanuel are experiencing a renewed sense of the vision and mission they have from the Lord. They are ready to hold fast even when the “going gets tough”. With continued hardships, such as prohibitive prices of commodities, one does not hear them complain. They are consumed with the desire to see God’s “kingdom come and His will be done”. One senses a new boldness in their voice and a greater faith for facing the future. Small group meetings, formation courses and evangelistic prayer events continue to be important parts of their regular schedules.
Emmanuel is a beacon of light for many who are battling the “demons” in their lives, even among friends and relatives. It is a garden of hope planted amidst the devastation of war. It is serving as both a lifeline of solid Christian wisdom and “renewed” day to day instruction for many in need. It is bound to be a place of renewal for the Christian church in Aleppo for many years to come.
May all of us continue to support them by prayer and generosity!