At several steps on their path to death, eleven indigenous Christian workers from villages near Aleppo had the option to leave the area and live. But the Syrian ministry workers chose to stay in order to provide aid in the name of Christ to others. Relatives said ISIS militants captured the workers and on August 28th asked them if they had renounced Islam for Christianity. When they said that they had, the rebels asked if they wanted to return to Islam. The Christians said they would never renounce Christ. The 41 year old team leader, his son and the two ministry members in their 20s were questioned at one village site where ISIS had summoned a crowd.

The team leader had presided over nine house churches he had helped to establish. His son was two months away from his 13th birthday. “All were badly brutalized and then crucified,” the ministry leader said, “they were left on their crosses for two days. No one was allowed to remove them.” Eight other ministry team members were taken to another site in the village that day and were asked the same questions before a crowd. Two women, aged 29 and 33, tried to tell the ISIS militants they were only sharing the peace and love of Christ. The Islamic extremists then publicly raped the women, who continued to pray during their ordeal, leading the ISIS militants to beat them furiously. As the two women and the six men knelt they were beheaded, while they were still praying.

“Villagers said some were praying in the name of Jesus, some were praying the Lord’s prayer, and others lifted their heads to commit their spirits to Jesus,” the ministry director said. “One of the women looked up and seemed to be almost smiling as she said, ‘Jesus!’” The sorrow of the ministry team leader who lost eleven workers has been deep, but he takes heart that their faith could help change the hearts of the persecutors.

Christian Aid Mission, My Christian Daily