Orange County to Syria: Dads fight for the same dream

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For almost an hour, Maamoun remained stoic as he shared the harrowing story of how his family had arrived in Lebanon. Matter of factly, he shared details of sneaking his wife and family out of the terror that had consumed his town in Syria and the long and tedious journey to their current location in the Bekaa Valley.

For almost an hour, Maamoun remained stoic as he shared the harrowing story of how his family had arrived in Lebanon. Matter of factly, he shared details of sneaking his wife and family out of the terror that had consumed his town in Syria and the long and tedious journey to their current location in the Bekaa Valley.

His story, whose riveting details were almost incomprehensible to our western ears, drew little emotion from him as he spoke. But suddenly, in the temporary safety of the one-bedroom apartment that he shared with his wife and six kids, a harsh realization set over him.

His words stopped and his eyes slowly pooled with tears. Even though in that moment his family was fed and safe, Maamooun was overcome by the reality that he had lost the ability to protect and provide for his family. Sadly, similar variations of Maamoun’s story were consistently repeated by Syrian refugee families we met on our recent journey to Lebanon.

Men, women and children, due to circumstances far beyond their control, had replaced their former lives; lives of middle-class comforts filled with jobs, homes, extended families and comforts taken for granted were replaced with fear and uncertainty.

As a husband and father of three boys, I can relate to Maamoun’s desire to want to protect and provide for his family. We hope for the same things, refugee parents and I; safety and a future for our children. Almost ten years ago I was laid off and over the months that followed our dwindling resources provided days and nights of anxiety of wondering how I would take care of my family.

The reality is, we wouldn’t have made it through that season without the support of family and friends who provided for us in generous and creative ways. My wife and I reflect on that season and are amazed by God’s provision.

Meals seemed to arrive daily from an ever widening network of church friends. Gift certificates to grocery stores would appear anonymously in our mail box. We’d wake up in the morning and find cash to help pay the mortgage slipped under our door during the night.

My hope and prayer is that as families like Maamoun’s receive resources from Giving Children Hope and its family of donors, they would all experience the same kind of encouragement and strength my family drew from the blessings given by others.

While the scale of our hardship pales in comparison to the life or death realities of Syrian refugees, the same core desire to provide for your family remains. As Father’s Day come and go, and is celebrated every year, I encourage you to consider joining Giving Children Hope in our mission of serving Syrian refugees.

Over the past three years Giving Children Hope has sent more than twenty 40-foot shipping containers full of food, new clothes and medical resources to Syrian families whose lives are in turmoil. We have an opportunity to come alongside fathers like Maamoun and let them know they are not alone.

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