Mahala’s story, like many Syrian children’s stories, is filled with the traumas of war. Mahala’s life changed at the tender age of six when her family fled to the countryside to hide from the atrocities of the war. They went without necessities like electricity or schooling as the battle raged on. The once happy family now wrestled with the fear of the unknown and the certainty that it was only a matter of time until they had to flee again. For them, there was no peace.
As predicted, Syrian militants barged into their desolate home to enlist Mahala’s brother. Although he had already fled, militants then unleashed their rage on the family. The militants roughed them up and threatened them at gunpoint. They stole belongings and vandalized the home as the family watched in terror. Knowing that it was only a matter of time before the militants returned, the family was once again forced to flee in fear of their lives. But this time, it meant crossing the border into Lebanon.
For the first six months, the traumatized family stayed in their small one-room home in Lebanon. It wasn’t until Mahala’s mother attended a women’s meeting at a church near their home that they ventured out. Comforted by the safety they found at church, Mahala and her siblings began to experience life as children again.
Mahala had opportunities to learn and play as she attended the church. Sunday school, educational lessons, and play time all brought back, little by little, a childhood rooted in peace. Then, Mahala’s father fell ill. The illness was incurable, and, soon, he slipped into a coma.
As her father’s condition worsened, Mahala and her family clung to peace found in Christ. They dedicated their lives to God and began to live in faith, and Mahala requested they pray for his healing. At home, Mahala laid her hands on his and led the family in prayer. God heard her innocent prayers and answered. The community was astonished as Mahala’s father made a full recovery.
BECOMING A WORLD CHANGER
Mahala’s faith makes her a world changer. She can have a childhood rooted in peace once again. She is now attending school and continuously studies her Bible. She is outspoken about her faith – even when it means getting bullied at school. “What do I have to fear?” Mahala asked in an interview with SAT-7 Blogger Esther Gayfield. “They are the ones that will be fearing after death if I don’t tell them about Jesus.”
Mahala even teaches at the church on occasion. Marching up to the podium, Mahala, at just ten years old, gives 10-minute devotionals with relevant Bible verses and shares her testimony. What a beacon of hope Mahala is becoming!
SAT-7’s Lebanon office and local ministries like the church Mahala attends provide needed educational and psycho-social support. All to change the lives of those affected by war and impact children like Mahala. These children are becoming world changers, future leaders who will bring peace to the Middle East. Imagine, if we ignored this one chance?
*Names changed for security