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Volunteer testimony - Conquered by Syrians.

EN - Friday, 24 September 2021

SOS Chrétiens d'Orient sends volunteers in mission throughout the year. Like Sebastien, come and live an unforgettable experience in Syria. The only limits are those in your mind.

Per day, the mission of a volunteer costs 33 € to the association. If you can't leave, support a volunteer on a mission, donate.


I've heard a lot about Syria! I'm sure you have too, but before you make up your mind, like Saint Thomas, wait until you go there!

A feeling of excitement mixed with curiosity prevents me from getting any sleep on the plane.

Finally, I'm there! My face is pressed against the windows of the cars that follow one another to take me to Damascus, before my final destination the next day, Aleppo. I scan the darkness to try to define the curves of the buildings bruised not so long ago by the rain of bombs. I imagine the violence of the blasts that shook the whole neighbourhoods. Sweet Jesus.

Aleppo here I am! I can imagine the past luxury of this city. A certain charm remains, and unlike other Eastern megacities, the streets seem strangely clean. The few green spaces are well maintained. This ‘sleeping beauty’ looks great, I am already won over.

So many young children working in the streets, I can't believe they don't go to school! I was told later that a Father (catholic priest) would never allow a Christian child to be exploited like that and would take him immediately under his protective wing.

The welcome at the mission is warm. I meet Jean-Rémi, deputy head of mission in Syria, whom I met in 2019 during my first mission in Egypt.

sos chretiens orient syrie volontaires sur le chantier de renovation ecole du rosaire alepThe city, that welcomes me for my new two month Christian mission, already fascinates me. There is a real energy and a desire for hope.

The days are punctuated by successive electricity cuts and by the drastic rationing of petrol. Huge diesel generators, as big as trucks, spit out their blackish sputum uninterruptedly and the sound of heavy, incessant whirring  becomes part of my daily life. These amps are sold by companies to those who want to run their fridges or fans for more than four hours a day! Many people only use the city's electricity and organize among themselves the few hours provided.

Our actions are many and aimed to help the most disadvantaged. The distribution of sanitary protection for the elderly or those suffering from a genetic illness allows me to meet and communicate directly with the locals.

There’s so much to say, so many lessons to learn. Those who have nothing give everything. I remember these ladies, all widows, bedridden in the living room, some alone others surrounded with family members close by. To the question: "How can we help you?" Always the same answer: "Thank you! Thanks to God I have everything I need." Humility, the mother of virtues.

I also remember the look on the face of this octogenarian lady who lay on her sofa. It was 40°C inside the flat! There was no draught and no electricity to power the only fan available. It was terrible.

I make friends with two Syrian volunteer sisters who occasionally accompany us, the older one, Marina, frequently tells me about the dark hours of the past. I still have her stories stuck in my head.

"I remember the crash of the explosion and the irresistible force that threw me to the ground. I came to my senses in the Saint Louis Hospital, my scalp full of shards of glass, bent over, without strength." It was in Midan, a district now undergoing reconstruction, where the association is financing the restoration of flats for Christian families, and where volunteers are working with skilled workers. "A bomb had just fallen nearby, I was alive and practically unharmed, while there were so many victims! I realized that I had come close to death.

I was upset, but I had no fear afterwards, because I had the absolute certainty that, if I had been killed, everything would have been fine for me: I would have been with Jesus Christ in heaven."

Here nothing is thrown away, everything is recovered, recycled, transformed and repaired. With nearly 87% of households living below the poverty line, every good has its value! No over-consumption here.

sos chretiens orient syrie volontaires deblaient eglise saint georges alepI think of all the churches that have been partly or completely destroyed by terrorists, desecrated with insulting tags, icons torn up or burnt, furniture destroyed. Everything starts again, again and again. The generosity of the donors and the strength of will of the parishes work miracles. They will never take away our faith, never.

My childhood faith became a personal faith, and I chose to follow Jesus as I grew up. This new mission is a cry from the heart.

This little testimony to talk about a mission with Jesus Christ, how he delivered me on many occasions, as he took care of me every day, and I tried to spread His love in Syria.

It is with great reluctance that I leave Syria. It needs me as much as I need it.

Sebastien, volunteer in Syria.


SOS Chrétiens d'Orient sends volunteers in mission throughout the year. Like Sebastien, come and live an unforgettable experience in Syria. The only limits are those in your mind.

Per day, the mission of a volunteer costs 33 € to the association. If you can't leave, support a volunteer on a mission, donate.