by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Christians have helped to rebuild a church in the Syrian city of Raqqa that was destroyed during the 2014-2017 Islamic State reign of terror there, CBN reports. The Raqqa church was rededicated following an effort led by the Free Burma Rangers aid agency and the Grace Community Church in Fulton, Maryland.
ISIS invaded Raqqa in 2014, slaughtering Christians and other minority faith groups, and causing many thousands of others to flee. Since the 2017 defeat of the Islamic State, believers have been working to rebuild the community and their church, CBN reports.
A multi-ethnic humanitarian service working in Burma, Syria, Iraq, and Kurdistan, the Free Burma Rangers organization was among the first aid agencies to reach Raqqa following the ISIS withdrawal in 2017. Free Burma called for prayer that Raqqa’s former Armenian Church of the Forty Martyrs would be rebuilt – even though only 12 of the former congregants remain.
“God answered those prayers, and now a new building stands in place,” CBN reports. With prior connections to Free Burma, the Grace Community Church in Fulton, Maryland deployed to raise $60,000 for this purpose. This year, the church pastor Tae Pae was able to visit Syria for the church rededication – as were CBN reporters.
Talking to CBN in Syria, an Armenian believer said: “After many years we can finally return to being Armenians. I feel like I am a new Christian all over again. Praise God we now have a place to come and worship and make the sign of the cross!” Another Christian, Commander Aram Hanna, added: “We are few in Raqqa but it is something…a miracle for us to see us together again. We are 12 people, yes, but we are power, we are strength, we have each other and we will start again.”
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