There’s a crisis in Lebanon that grows more dire by the day.
Political factions and radical Islamic groups, such as Hezbollah, have replaced a once-stable government.
Conflict in the neighboring countries of war-torn Syria and Israel has “boiled over” threatening Lebanon’s status as a haven for Christians.
400% hyperinflation places Lebanon’s economic collapse in a top three position among nations in the last 150 years, according to the World Bank.
Food prices have increased 557% since 2019, while wages have significantly decreased.
The Beirut explosion in August 2020 killed hundreds, injured thousands more, and left an estimated 300,000 people homeless, wreaking further havoc on the economy and stability of the nation.
These deteriorating conditions are affecting Christians severely as the growing extremist-Muslim population is far less likely to hire, help, or support them. In addition, Christian refugees from Syria and Christian converts are already at a disadvantage because they’ve been ostracized by family and community. They live on the fringe, cut off from help and hope, fighting to survive.
A Strategic Nation for Christians in the Middle East
Because they have never mandated Islam as a national religion, Lebanon has offered some limited opportunities for employment and security for Christians. As a result, it houses the largest Christian population of any Middle Eastern nation, including millions of refugees from war-torn Syria and other nations that force Christians out.
Up until now Lebanon has been a strategic location, a “hub” of sorts, for us in our efforts to rescue persecuted believers—they have more relaxed laws and have been willing to take in refugees from other countries. A growing hostility to Christians changes everything. Christians like Rana.
Rana’s Parents Want Her Dead
Rana lives near Beirut, with her husband, Elie, and their two children. She was born into a devout Islamic family. Growing up, she often felt empty and asked God to reveal Himself to her. She met Elie, a Christian. The two got married secretly and lived away from their families. Elie gave Rana a Bible, and God spoke to her through His Word. She gave her life to the Lord and began to serve Him, proclaiming Christ on social media and through distributing food supplies to people in need.
Then, the threats began. In 2020, someone tried to hit them with a car, but they escaped miraculously.
And of course, her parents are furious with her decision to follow Jesus—enough to want to see her dead. Rana and Elie have no contact with their families—they move around often to stay hidden. Rana only socializes with women from the church.
As the economic situation in Lebanon grows more dire, Elie is out of work. Their savings are gone. Rana, Elie, and their children need immediate help to survive. To feed and clothe their family. To escape persecution. To build income potential for the future.
What Help The Persecuted Is Doing Amid the Crisis in Lebanon
We must continue to stand in the gap while we still can: meeting immediate needs; harboring persecuted believers; sharing the Gospel.
This month, our team is working in Lebanon on several projects to help support our persecuted brothers and sisters.
- Gospel Outreach and Discipleship Events
Our Field Ministry Team members will work with local churches to host public outreaches that include worship, evangelistic sermons and prayer. Food and drinks will be provided, as well as evangelistic tracts provided to families in attendance. Opportunities for prayer will be offered and mature Christians will be on hand for follow-up conversations. Our team recently held its first event and more than 400 people of various backgrounds attended. A number of people came to faith through the event and there are many others who are seeking to now learn more about Christ. Praise God!
Discipleship ministry weeks (retreat/conference setting) also will be offered by our Field Ministry Team in concert with local churches. Ongoing follow-up of seekers and new believers will be conducted by team members.
- Emergency Relief Kits
Emergency Relief Kits include essential food items — from rice, flour and oil to grains, beans and cheese — and other items include hygiene supplies, Bibles and other Christian literature for families. Supplemental items also are supplied depending on the season, such as winter clothing and fuel.
These Emergency Relief Kits have become a powerful ministry tool, providing the ability to meet critical needs, while also offering spiritual encouragement through the pastoral care of the Field Ministry Team, as they distribute Bibles and discipleship materials filled with God’s Truth.
Experience has shown that these Emergency Relief Kits open the door for further ministry support to be provided, from ongoing discipleship meetings to the provision of safe housing and more. We have also seen people come to a saving faith in Christ as the Gospel is presented.
- Agriculture Employment and Training
There is a significant opportunity to use available land in Lebanon for agricultural initiatives that create employment for persecuted families who could work in farming but lack the training, as well as providing opportunities to increase the skill levels of existing farmers thus creating Enduring Livelihoods during the economic crisis. Workers and trainees on the farm will earn an income through growing and selling profitable crops, while produce will also be made freely available to a food pantry and kitchen operation.
- Food Pantry and Kitchen Employment & Training
A food pantry and kitchen outreach will be established at a strategic location in Beirut to address issues of food insecurity for persecuted and vulnerable believers, provide training and employment opportunities, and to provide outreach opportunities to Muslim people in the area.
The food pantry will augment the capabilities of the Emergency Relief Kit outreach, while the kitchen will employ and train persecuted believers to a high standard in food production in order to produce and supply freshly cooked meals for those identified to be in need. The kitchen will provide a further point of outreach to the community as relationships are built, the Gospel is proclaimed, and new believers are followed up with by our Field Ministry Team and onward connections to local churches made.
- Medical Support
To address the lack of access to medical care due to financial constraints, the medical outreach will provide access to qualified, experienced and trusted local primary care physicians. Through our Field Ministry Team and local partners, people in need and unable to afford medical care will be identified and vouchers for physician appointments will be provided based on need. Vouchers will also be provided to cover costs of essential medicines as prescribed by local physicians and redeemable at local pharmacy clinics that have subsidized medicines.
Through the programs mentioned above, we are confident that we will be able to provide stability and relief for persecuted believers, along with strategic opportunities to share the Gospel in the region.
How You Can Help Our Efforts in Lebanon
Every day we receive testimonies of thanks from Lebanon, like these:
“Ever since the explosion, we’ve witnessed nothing but frustration and sadness. You always come with hope and encouragement. Thank you.”
“My whole family abandoned me. Nobody cares about me or my life. Yet you show up at my doorstep with food and money for my rent. I love you, Help The Persecuted.”
Today, we need your help to continue:
- Providing Emergency Relief Kits (ERKs) comprised of essential food items and discipleship materials.
- Supplying desperately needed warm clothing, coats, and fuel to heat homes during harsh winter conditions.
- Leveraging our Lightning Funds to help those in imminent danger.
- Keeping the doors of our six Safe Houses across Lebanon open and available amid the ever-rising cost of fuel, food, electricity, etc.
- Empowering our Field Ministry Team and ministry partners to intervene, meet needs, encourage and disciple believers, and so much more.
The hope of Christ is desperately needed in Lebanon. Your gift will make it all happen: food, warm clothing, lightning funds, safe housing and more. Your love for persecuted people will be on display to share hope and give life.