Crouching behind a crumbling stone structure, 11-year-old Yusef peered out into the dusty debris-ridden street.
He tiptoed wearily around piles of rubble and broken glass, and around the stiff bodies of men, women, and children sprawled in the streets. It was nearing dusk and the temperature was dropping steadily.
“It’s clear . . . we can go now,” Yusef whispered to his mother who had been waiting with his two younger sisters behind the charred remnants of an old truck. Even in the twilight, he could see her eyes flicker with relief to see his face. Yusef’s family had been hiding in Syria for nearly three years now. Shelling had destroyed everything around them, including his father’s business. Most of Yusef’s friends had left a long time ago, disappearing silently in the night. He had seen others gunned down in the street, their pleas for mercy still echoing endlessly in his mind.
After hearing about the refugee camps along the Syrian border, the family had remained in their war-torn village, hoping for a swift resolution and a return to peace. But peace never came.
A month ago, their family home was invaded and ransacked by soldiers. They had mercilessly beaten Yusef’s father and brutally harassed his mother. Over and over, they asked, “Do you call yourself a Christian?” Each time, his father, bleeding profusely, had answered, “Yes.”
The last time Yusef saw his father, he was being dragged away to be executed in the street. A neighbor, who witnessed the horror unfolding, ran to help Yusef and his mother and siblings escape while the soldiers were outside. After many days of running, they were exhausted, starving, and terrified. One evening, the neighbor friend went out to search for food; he never came back. It was now up to Yusef to lead his family to safety.
Flashes of light from exploding shells boomed in the distance, but seemed to be getting closer. They ran.
The lights of the border crossing into Jordan were just ahead. Leaving behind his home, his identity, and his father . . . he gripped his mother’s and sister’s hand and stepped forward into the night.
World Help is committed to serving refugee families along the Syrian border with life-saving supplies they need to survive the uncertain days ahead. Through our partnership with Christian churches across the Middle East, we are also working to distribute thousands of children’s illustrated storybook Bibles, bringing hope and encouragement to persecuted believers amid overwhelming tragedy.