As some governments claim, some places in Syria are relatively safe, and some refugees are admittedly reluctant to return not because of safety but because of the economic stability they’ve found in their host countries.
However, “there’s also truth in the pressure and in the difficulties of some families to go back because of deserting the Army or because of the alliance against the government,” Nuna says. “If they proclaimed themselves against the government, going back to Syria after this government would be a bit difficult.”
This increased pressure is uprooting families and individuals who are already weary and battered. Nuna says these refugees may no longer live in fear of losing their lives, but they do face “the trauma of being arrested, the trauma of being taken prisoner, of being beaten, and of being forced into signing something or doing something that you don’t want to do.”
Thanks to their work with refugees, Triumphant Mercy sees the frontline of this discussion. They’re working to develop economic stability for refugees, but with official eyes on them, they’re doing their best to show that they care for both Syrians and Lebonese.
As the situation shifts, so too will their mission. “It’s not just me; it’s everybody now,” Nuna says. “Every NGO is doing that. They’re all shifting gears, they’re all going in a different direction. Even though we’ve been focusing on very much like on Syrian refugees who are here, we’re trying to differentiate between the Syrian refugees who are here to receive help, or just because it’s easier on them, or those who are really needing help and needing to be supported in Lebanon.”
For years, they’ve been working to help displaced refugees feel safe. “People started to feel that they can start a life, that they got out of the trauma,” Nuna says. Now, with new pressure from host countries, “the trauma’s back. Now they sleep not knowing if, at four in the morning, the camp will be surrounded by the military just coming to take people to prison.”
That being said, they’re still trying to guide refugees who are interested in returning home, telling them “We can help you even there, we can direct you somewhere, we can just give you some tips and points. But it’s better for you to actually go back home and start to build.”
In short, these are people who are looking for hope. They need something steady to hold on to in times of turmoil and a source of peace as their world shifts once again.
That’s what makes Triumphant Mercy so uniquely equipped to take on this challenge. “We’re a Christian agency before we’re a humanitarian agency, and we have a message and we have a desire to see God’s kingdom expand,” Nuna says.
“We believe that every person we see, we need to encourage, bring hope, show them a different view, and let them see that the hope is not gone, and everything is not black.”
This new pressure is proof that any sense of stability based on politics or the material world is can be taken away. That’s why Triumphant Mercy focuses “on the real issue, and the real issue is what do you have inside you and the real peace that they can have when they just give everything to Christ and you let him direct your life.”
Pray for Syrian refugees wrestling with the choice of whether or not to return home, and ask God to give Triumphant Mercy wisdom as they come alongside Lebanese and Syrians. You can learn more about Triumphant Mercy right here.
“People are suffering. People are traumatized. People don’t have a future. People don’t see a future, they can’t imagine a future,” Nuna says.
“If we join together, if we all have a goal in mind, we can actually do something, and I really want to encourage people to take a stand to just say ‘It’s not acceptable. We got used to it, but it’s unacceptable.’”
Header photo courtesy of unsplash