STANDING ON A rooftop overlooking the devastation of Beirut in 1989, Nora Haddad* had determined to commit suicide.
More than a decade into the 15-year Lebanese civil war, 18-year-old Haddad had witnessed the devastation firsthand. Born in Lebanon and raised in a family that was nominally Catholic, she became disgusted by the violence among religious factions that prevailed during the war. “Christians were the most cruel—they were often the worst,” she says. “How could I believe God existed when even animals were living better than us?”
Haddad waited on the balcony for a missile to come and kill her. She asked God, “If you are there, show me something through your Word.” She says God led her to Romans 8:31: “If God is for us, who is against us?” Shortly thereafter, a stranger came to her door and began to tell her about Jesus. After hearing the message of salvation in Christ, she says, she knew there was hope.
Haddad became a disciple. In 1997, her journey led her to Syria, where she has become one of the most influential leaders of an evangelistic movement that endures amid the refugee crisis and the genocide of Christians and other minorities in the region.
Challenges in Syria
Less than 10 percent of people in Syria are Christians, including Orthodox, Uniate, and Nestorian sects. Life for Syrian Christians under the Assad regimes has been challenging in many ways. During the reign of former president Hafez al-Assad, overt proselytization was not legal.