Young mum Samara’s life-changing Syria mission
Young mother Samara Levy’s desire to help war-weary Syrians has propelled her on a life-changing journey amid danger and poverty. Sandie Shirley reports.
As the founder of a charity dedicated to aiding the traumatised people of Syria, Samara’s work has helped to open the floodgates of provision for hundreds of thousands.
Samara shared her epic sacrificial story at a Zoom meeting organised by the Norwich branch of the FGB in the autumn. She told how a simple miraculous act of obedience has snowballed into a giant, expanding, £2.3m mission since she first heard the call of God nearly seven years ago.
Living in comparison with relative comfort, ease, and luxury in Brighton, Samara has been moved to radically love her neighbour as Jesus commands.
“His words are very simple, and are black and white, asking us to share what we have and to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and care for the sick,” says Samara, who has sacrificed social life and material pursuits to instead pour time and energy into this calling.
It is believed there are more than 11.7 million people in Syria requiring humanitarian help and the UN has described it as “the worst humanitarian crisis of our time.”
Samara launched the charity, Samara’s Aid Appeal, to help those internally displaced, bereaved, traumatised, impoverished, and homeless. With her dedicated team she has voiced numerous pleas for funding and clothes. Some contributions have come from Norfolk churches and include Hope Community Church in Wymondham.
The appeals have had dramatic results, sending a total of 110 containers and lorries to the Middle East as well as providing 11 ambulances to Syria and funding numerous growing initiatives that have included much needed medical care.
“Two thirds of the hospitals in Syria have been destroyed, damaged or are largely dysfunctional but our charity aims at rebuilding the light of God,” says Samara. “We established four temporary field hospitals at different times in the conflict, one of which treated 3,000 patients a month.
Another permanent medical centre with specialist services is scheduled to open by the end of the year while we also work to our future goal for a large hospital with even more advanced facilities.”
The overall need in Syria is dire and costly. Samara has witnessed the shocking large-scale devastation and horrific atrocities done to humanity. But the charity is responding by raising funding as a vital booster for medical and farming projects and providing support for orphans, disadvantaged children, and widows, empowering and equipping them to establish livelihoods.
The enlarging mission has meant stretching her hands of faith and raising her motivational voice to tell others of the life-threatening plight of the Syrian people. Many have been forced to flee their homes to escape violence, terrorism, persecution, and war while the lack of essentials means they struggle to survive.
Her heart was first moved after the graphic newsreels and reports of a rejected people on the margins of society who had fled from IS. They lived under canvas amid freezing temperatures and gun fire and many children wore flip flops in the snow. Soon afterwards she saw a picture of a baby who had been beheaded by IS.
Tearful, sleepless and aching she got down on her knees to pray, asking how she could help.
“I wondered what I could do as a stay-at-home mum with young children with little to give, but I mounted a collection, in obedience to God’s instructions, by asking mums in my son’s class for clothes, blankets and shoes.
“We can do nothing by ourselves,” says Samara, who recalls stretching her faith to fill one of the largest lorries available. Realising response was insufficient, she says: “I begged God’s mercy to meet the gaping shortfall to fill the vehicle’s 90 cubic metre capacity that would cost £6,500 to transport it to our first destination in Iraq.”
Within the next fortnight, the community responded with church support and a school minibus arrived with stacks of boxes. “I had asked God: if he could feed the 5,000 would he also multiply the giving. The result was that my ‘nets’ were breaking!”
Those small beginnings rallied the nation as collections flooded in and now 109 more lorries and containers have been sent overseas as an explosive mission brings relief to hundreds of thousands.
God’s strong arm of delivery has continued for the challenges, dangers, and lessons that unfold.
But the responsibility as founder and overseer of the charity is daunting. Samara explains: Four years ago, IS attacked and took control of the area where our first mission hospital was situated and where our frontline team on the ground were working.
“It was a desperate situation, and their lives were in peril as, with IS, execution and imprisonment are all too prevalent, but fasting and prayer to seek God for his wisdom secured their immediate exit route just in time amid the IS rampage.
“I have learnt that Syria is one of the most complex and dangerous countries in the world with kidnappings, and attacks on health care. There are also fuel, electricity and supply shortages and many things must be imported so there are continual challenges to see projects completed.
“I have had to depend on the Lord to clearly see his regular breakthroughs, but it is important to be immersed in prayer.”
As the country copes with Covid-19, which threatens people’s income and livelihoods, the charity teams are helping to relieve the sick, the invalid and poorest of the poor.
Read Samara’s story
Samara Levy’s autobiography: ’Rebuilding the Ruins: Responding to God's Call to Serve Syria’ unveils the story of miraculous protection and provision and features the lives of those she has met during numerous visits and how communities are beginning to pick up the pieces and live side-by side despite the atrocities done to each other.
‘Rebuilding the Ruins’ (Hodder and Stoughton) is available from major book retailers including Waterstone, WH Smith, Eden and Amazon as well as at: www.samarasaidappeal.org