VARTOUHI, SYRIA: 'I START MY DAY WITH PRAYER IN MY HOUSE'
When war came to Aleppo, Vartouhi (pictured) had a difficult choice to make – in the end, she had to close her baking business as the fighting worsened and parts of the building collapsed. "The shop is important to me, but I was facing an impossibility," she says. "The hardships were too many."
Despite the threat of persecution for her Christian faith, Vartouhi stayed in Syria. With no way to earn enough money or repair her shop, she became dependent on food aid. But, thanks to your prayers and support, Vartouhi received a microloan from her local Center of Hope, run by Pastor Abdalla, and now her new bakery is up and running! (If you’ve not yet tried her baklava, you can with this unique recipe.)
Vartouhi is delighted with her new business. "Working here every day makes me very happy. I love my job," she says. "Words cannot express how thankful I am. I am greatly thankful that help reached me."
She also believes it is very important that Christians stay and live in Syria, as a light to the majority-Muslim population. "It’s very hard as a woman," she says. "In this shop I meet various kinds of people – some are cruel, aggressive, some use disrespectful speech or insulting words… I start my day with prayer in my house, so I come here [to the shop] fed with the Word of God and filled with the Spirit."
Thanks to you, churches in Syria, through Centers of Hope, are continuing to rebuild their communities and support persecuted Christians through providing relief aid, medical care, trauma care and vocational training and loans.
For Vartouhi and others setting up businesses with microloans from Centers of Hope, that they will be protected and blessed, that Christians in Syria will be strengthened to be a light in the darkness that Centers of Hope would be able to continue to provide healing and trauma care for those who have been severely affected by the war.