Mission to Raqqa, Syria, June 24, 2018 (2)
Rubble: broken fragments (as of rock) resulting from the decay or destruction of a building. (Webster)
It's really difficult using words alone to accurately describe the destruction to property and lives in Raqqa. Even the photos that I will share here won't do it justice.
As we drove through the city (in places cleared enough to pass) I kept thinking that it could not get any worse, but then we would round a corner and the visual scale of destruction would multiply.
In 2014 ISIS declared the city its de facto capitol and began destroying non-Sunni structures. They also instituted a harsh Sharia Law and used the city center for public punishment of those accused of breaking that law. These well-documented punishments included everything from lashings to crucifixions and beheadings.
They used the soccer stadium as a prison and place of torture and also sold Yazidi women and girls from a cage on the field.
If the city could speak...
On October 17th last year the city was finally declared liberated from ISIS after months of airstrikes from the Syrian government, Russia, the United States, and several other countries.
While many celebrated the victory of the defeat of ISIS and the terror they inflicted, the city and its people have been left shattered.
Even now, 5 months later, only a few are trickling back to see if there is anything left of their homes, businesses, and property. Many also are coming to look for loved ones, long lost.
The question everyone is asking is, "How does a city and its people come back from such devastation?"
I believe that for these families in Raqqa it is not only their city that lies in ruins but also their trust in religion and governments.
Over and over on our trip we offered prayers and love through medical care, food distribution, and children's programs. Each time, these small acts of love were eagerly received, and we were rewarded with smiles from kids, hugs and kisses from adults desperate for something good. In the midst of a destroyed city and shattered lives loves brings hope.
It is our desire that our small acts of help, hope, and love will point to the True Foundation as we move among them in Jesus Name.
A special thanks to all of you who pray and give to make these missions possible.
Jesus said that it is the "wise man" who builds upon the "Rock", which are His teachings of of the true gospel. Because the rains will come, floods will happen, and the winds will beat against all of our lives.
Jesus is the true Gospel. Relationship verses religion. Love verses law.
As it turns out, rubble makes a great foundation. Using rubble as a foundation is actually an ancient building technique and is still practiced in many parts of the world.
When structures (ideals, religions, philosophies) of man collapse it is an opportunity to begin again. To evaluate the foundation.
We continue to pray for these families that they will choose to rebuild with Love, turning to the Creator for hope and help.