The Only Open Door Was at a Church: A Refugee Family’s Story
Eva was born in Syria and lived there until she was 8 years old. Two years ago, she and her family were forced to flee the violence there. This is her story, as told by one of the teachers at her school.
This story is from Eva*. She is 10 years old. She is a girl with the best smile ever. She is the bravest girl I have ever met, as she is able to smile after all the suffering she has been through.
The family left Syria as a family—dad, mom, Eva and her younger brother, Anas*. Two years ago, they left because the fighting made it dangerous to stay. They landed in Jordan.
Eva and Anas suffered from many issues: poverty, constant lack of basic necessities, and no access to schooling. These are common problems for children living as refugees, but on top of these, their father began to violently abuse his children, especially Eva. The child was verbally abused and slammed and hit every day, while the helpless mom could do nothing to protect her children from their own father.
Eva lived the darkest days of her life worried, terrified, and neglected.
In Jordan, Eva’s mother knocked on many doors for help, but they were all closed. It was only a Nazarene church that opened its doors to help.
The church took good care of Eva, Anas, and their mother. After a while, the abusive had to return to Syria, and the rest of the family found relief in Jordan.
Eva was able to go back to school. However, during a year in a government school, she faced many problems that she wasn’t able to handle. After that year, Eva and her brother were able to enroll in a Nazarene school. There, she was overwhelmed by love, peace, and acceptance.
“I used to pretend to be ill and sleepy in order not to go to [the government] school,” Eva says. “But now … I like to go to school early to play with my friends in the yard. I know most of them from the Sunday school in the church.”
In speaking about the school, Eva added, “I don’t get full marks, but I’m happy. My teachers encourage me to be better and better, and I will be someday soon.”
Eva’s mom is so pleased and thankful to God, who helped her and her children to live a normal life—secure and, most of all, happy.
In the future, Eva wants to be an English teacher — just like her own teacher.
Eva loves her school, teachers, friends, books, and everything. She simply loves her life now.
Eva is just one child out of 28 million displaced children who have been uprooted by conflict. All over the world, children are forcibly displaced from their homes because of battles they didn’t choose. But even a small thing can make a big difference. For Eva, that was a church willing to open its doors, which led to her escaping abuse and getting a chance at a healthy home life.
This year’s Christmas Project will provide for the basic needs of displaced children in our world. To help a vulnerable child, visit ncm.org/Christmas.
*Children’s names are changed for their protection.