For many years, Lebanon has been a strategic location for our team, enabling us to help persecuted Christians in the region. Because Lebanon hasn’t adopted Islamic law, it’s not illegal to be a Christian in the country. That means, for many persecuted Christians fleeing other countries, Lebanon is a somewhat welcoming refuge where families can rebuild their lives. And those who find refuge there are a testimony to the hope for the persecuted that can be found.
Still, though it is one of the better, more tolerant countries for Christians, life in Lebanon is not easy for them. The majority of the population is Muslim, and those who are more extremists often make life difficult for Christians when their faith is discovered.
For Cyla, she endured an abusive childhood where she was neglected and mistreated. So far, her whole life has been filled with pressure and contempt for who she is and what she believes. For Cyla, there was little hope in Lebanon. Yet, through God’s divine intervention, He is providing hope for Cyla, and hope for the persecuted in Lebanon through her story.
Abused for Being Cyla
When Cyla was three months old, her paternal uncle killed her mother, and her father married another woman within a month. Because of the environment in Cyla’s father’s house, and his new marriage, Cyla’s maternal grandfather wanted to raise her and register her under his name. Out of spite, her father refused and dropped off Cyla to live with his parents.
Cyla’s family life went from bad to worse: Her father’s family neglected her. When her father visited his parents, he saw his sister kicking her milk bottle at her, being mean to Cyla and ignoring her needs. Cyla’s dad decided to take her to live with him and his wife—Cyla was not even two years old.
When Cyla arrived at her father’s home, her stepmother did not treat her well either. During her ﬁrst year in her father’s house, her stepmother scalded her legs with hot water, and she was taken to a hospital. There, a Christian doctor noticed her miserable physical condition and oﬀered to adopt her, but Cyla’s father rejected the oﬀer.
Curiosity for Christ Grows
When Cyla grew up, she learned what happened to her when she was young. She began to wonder why Christians had been loving to her while her Muslim family treated her with contempt. She began to learn a little of what Christians believed, and met a Christian man online named Masab who answered some of her questions.
As Cyla and Masab got to know one another, they fell in love and decided to get married. When her father and his wife learned about Cyla’s contact with Masab, they beat her and threatened to kill her if she contacted him again. Afraid for her life, Cyla, ﬂed from their house in northern Lebanon, got married, and lived with her husband in his hometown near Lebanon’s southern borders.
Masab’s family baptized her in a traditional orthodox church, though she didn’t know if she fully believed in what they believed. One of her husband’s relatives, a Christian who served in a local church, began helping her sell used clothes and started telling her about God’s love.
She invited Cyla to her church’s online meetings, where she finally learned about who Jesus really is, and she gave her life to Him as her Savior shortly afterward.
Overwhelmed by Family Pressure and Threats
Not long after she accepted Jesus, Cyla’s father’s family invited her to their house, but she didn’t go because she was sure it was a trap where they might threaten and abuse her in an attempt to make her renounce Jesus. On Masab’s side of the family, his parents were outraged that they were part of the evangelical church. Feeling pressured and threatened to renounce their faith, Cyla and Masab moved to live by themselves.
Currently, they have no support from their families. Other people in the village have heard rumors about Cyla’s faith and have ostracized her—they will not speak to her, help her, or sell to her because of her faith.
Cyla and Masab have two young children, and they are struggling to make ends meet amid the pressure they feel from all sides. Cyla sells used clothes which she gathers for free, and her husband serves with the Lebanese army. The couple’s expenses are far exceeding their income, and they are desperate to live on their own, safely removed from their angry, threatening families.
Hope for the Persecuted
Often, young families in the Middle East rely on their parents to help them financially as they start their families. When family members are divided over faith, threats, abuse, rejection, even torture and death are possible. This family pressure and economic pressure are overwhelming for many young believers.
In Lebanon, Christian families are under a greater strain as the economy struggles, jobs are scarce, and anti-Christian sentiment is on the rise.
When Help The Persecuted Field Ministry Team members come alongside young families like Cyla and Masab, they are providing more than necessities, they are providing hope for the persecuted and a light in the darkness. Our team is helping Cyla and Masab with essential items to equip their home to care for two children, as well as living expenses to cover heating, food, and rent until the couple is able to earn a stable and predictable income that provides a future for their children.
Your support and prayers for Christian families in Lebanon and the Muslim world makes a difference in the kind of future the next generation of Christians will have. With your help, we’re providing hope for the persecuted.