The fear of abduction and death is a daily part of life for Syrian Bible distributor, Gaith.
We’ve changed his name to protect him from possible attacks.
Gaith works in northern Syria helping to distribute some 250,000 Bibles and portions of the scriptures across the war-torn country.
“Every time we leave our headquarters it’s difficult because we cannot anticipate what we may encounter on the road,” he said. “We don’t know if we will get to our destination or not.”
“When I leave my family every morning, I don’t know if I will see them at night.”
More than 200,000 Syrians have lost their lives in four years of armed conflict. More than 11 million others have been forced to flee their homes, including some 4 million who have left Syria altogether.
The conflict began in 2011 during the Arab Spring but had escalated by 2012.
It is against this background of violence that Gaith and his colleagues distribute Bibles.
“Sometimes we are on the road to our destination and we are caught in a battle zone,” he said. “We park and wait until things calm down and then we continue our journey.”
“There is always the risk of being abducted. All the time, every day, I fear that I will not come home at night.”
Gaith and his colleagues distribute Bibles across the war-torn country and visit and encourage church leaders.
Don’t people need food and shelter more, I asked. “On the contrary,” he said, “there is a thirst for the scriptures because more important than food and shelter and peace is hope. People find hope in the word of God.”
“There is no hope here. People have lost hope in the country and in the countries that are promising some sort of solution.”
“We know of clergymen who take our Bibles into very dangerous situations.”
“Many people when we go through checkpoints, they take the scriptures and kiss it and place it on their forehead as a sign of reverence.”
“Because of this, we are motivated to keep going with our work. It is risky work. But it is our mission. We can do nothing but fulfill it.”
David Smith, Bible Society’s International Programme Manager, met Gaith last week. He said, “He’s an absolute hero.”
“I think he’s the most courageous person I have ever met. People like Gaith risk their lives every day in order to share the Bible.”