BAMAKO, Mali -- Thousands of Malians displaced by war will likely remain homeless a while longer.
Heavy fighting over the weekend between government troops and Islamic rebels in the city of Gao means their plans to return to their homes are now on hold.
In the meantime, CBN's Operation Blessing International is there, bringing them help in their time of crisis.
Ameen Abrayu, a Christian who fled Gao before the armed Islamists arrived, was planning to return after French forces liberated the city. Her hopes have now been dashed because Islamic insurgents are back, fighting Malian troops there.
Ameen said when the rebels came, they vandalized her church and burned a Bible.
"They said they had defeated Jesus, but that is a lie," Ameen told CBN News. She and thousands of others have found refuge in the capital city of Bamako.
Many of the internally displaced in Bamako fled the north last spring as the Islamists advanced. Each one has tragic stories to tell. They are in great need, especially for food and other supplies.
Workers with Operation Blessing are now on the ground in Mali, providing these refugees with nutritious meals of beans and rice.
While local churches have provided shelter for some, more than a quarter of a million Malians have been displaced internally and thousands more are refugees in neighboring countries.
Muslim-turned-Christian Ibrahim Cisse said Islamic gunmen would have killed him if he hadn't left Timbuktu. He is thankful for CBN and caring Americans.
"I am grateful for what you have done," Cisse told CBN News. "It is special and we really appreciate this. Thank you very much!"
As the struggle to liberate Mali of armed Islamic militants continues, CBN and other Christians are helping those who've fled the fighting, demonstrating the love of Christ to Malians who won't be returning to their homes anytime soon.