11 Syrian Christians—Before Being Crucified and Beheaded by ISIS—Prayed This…
“They kept on praying loudly and sharing Jesus until their last breath. They did
this in front of the villagers as a testimony for others.”
(Syria)—At several steps on their path to death by beheading and crucifixion last
month, 11 indigenous Christian workers near Aleppo, Syria had the option to leave
the area and live. The 12-year-old son of a ministry team leader also could have
spared his life by denying Christ.
The indigenous missionaries were not required to stay at their ministry base in a
village near Aleppo, Syria; rather, the ministry director who trained them had
entreated them to leave. As the Islamic State (ISIS), other rebel groups and Syrian
government forces turned Aleppo into a war zone of carnage and destruction, ISIS
took over several outlying villages. The Syrian ministry workers in those villages
chose to stay in order to provide aid in the name of Christ to survivors.
“I asked them to leave, but I gave them the freedom to choose,” said the ministry
director, his voice tremulous as he recalled their horrific deaths. “As their
leader, I should have insisted that they leave.”
They stayed because they believed they were called to share Christ with those caught
in the crossfire, he said.
“Every time we talked to them,” the director said, “they were always saying, ‘We
want to stay here—this is what God has told us to do. This is what we want to do.’
They just wanted to stay and share the Gospel.”
Those who chose to stay could have scattered and hid in other areas, as their
surviving family members did. On a visit to the surviving relatives in hiding, the
ministry director learned of the cruel executions.
The relatives said ISIS militants on Aug. 7 captured the Christian workers in a
village whose name is withheld for security reasons. On Aug. 28, the militants asked
if they had renounced Islam for Christianity. When the Christians said that they
had, the rebels asked if they wanted to return to Islam. The Christians said they
would never renounce Christ. (Photo: ISIS/via Christian Aid Mission)
The 41-year-old team leader, his young son and two ministry members in their 20s
were questioned at one village site where ISIS militants had summoned a crowd. The
team leader 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.”
The martyrs died beside signs the ISIS militants had put up identifying them as
Eight other ministry team members, including two women, were taken to another site
in the village that day (Aug. 28) and were asked the same questions before a crowd.
The women, ages 29 and 33, tried to tell the ISIS militants they were only sharing
the peace and love of Christ and asked what they had done wrong to deserve the
abuse. The Islamic extremists then publicly raped the women, who continued to pray
during the ordeal, leading the ISIS militants to beat them all the more furiously.
As the two women and the six men knelt before they were beheaded, they were all
“Villagers said some were praying in the name of Jesus, others said some were
praying the Lord’s prayer, and others said some of them lifted their heads to
commend their spirits to Jesus,” the ministry director said. “One of the women
looked up and seemed to be almost smiling as she said, ‘Jesus!'”
After they were beheaded, their bodies were hung on crosses, the ministry director
said, his voice breaking. He had trained all of the workers for their evangelistic
ministry, and he had baptized the team leader and some of the others…