by Rolan Way
Syrian and Iraqi refugees have become victims of a rebellion being fought against the Syrian regime and brutality caused by the self-proclaimed terrorist group ISIS and other Islamic extremists.
"The hardest thing in this ministry is just sitting down and listening to their hurts," Matheson said about spending time with the refugees. "They come, they arrive with little children just with the clothes on their back, because back in Syria their homes are destroyed, their businesses are destroyed ... women have been raped ... real torture goes on among men and young men in Syria."
Images and reports of beheadings, cruelty and pure evil continue to shadow refugees -- numbering in the millions -- from any light of hope. But Matheson is there to tell them about a loving God who cares deeply for all who are fleeing violence and that only He can push back the descending darkness.
Through the support of Southern Baptists, Matheson and fellow workers are able to distribute boxes of food and other critical necessities provided through gifts to Global Hunger Relief along the Syrian border.
"We are able, through the Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, to focus 100 percent on the ministry that God has given us as workers ... as laborers in the field," Matheson said. "We're able to give all of our attention to people who are hurting by ministering to their physical, emotional and, most importantly, their spiritual needs."
U.S. churches also are playing a direct role in ministering to refugee needs alongside Matheson. A medical team from Mandarin Baptist Church of Los Angeles came to see the work firsthand and to help.
Nurse Katherine Lee* recognized that their physical presence to provide medical assistance is important, but the ongoing presence that Matheson provides is key to lasting hope. Matheson's physical presence, Lee said, has allowed him to listen and give comfort to the refugees, as well as to offer help and hope. She noted it makes a real difference in their lives...