1. They are the largest unreached people group:
Children in Lebanon are the largest unreached people group in the nation! In the Bekaa Valley alone there are ½ million children who have never heard the Gospel. 60% live below the poverty line.
A few things to think on:
- There are an estimated 3.9 million Lebanese people in the country. Among them, around one-third are children (1.3 million) according to the UNHCR.
- Add to that the refugees living in Lebanon and you have close to 2 million children in Lebanon.
- More than 737,000 children of Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian descent in Lebanon were out of school in 2021, according to data published by the UNHCR.
- According to UNICEF, 15% of families in Lebanon have stopped their children’s education. One in 10 children* has been sent to work while Lebanese society witnesses an increase in child marriage among younger girls, especially from the Syrian refugee community.
- Around 1.2 million* children have seen their education affected or even interrupted since October 2019.
The overwhelming number of children in Lebanon have never heard the name Jesus, and today, because of the current and growing crises, do not have an opportunity for a Biblical, value-based education which will lead them and the nation out of poverty.
2. Children matter to Jesus.
Remember this classic story recorded by Mark? He shares that a group of people brought little children to Jesus for him to lay his hands on them. The disciples could not understand why Jesus would be bothered with them – they are just kids – right? But “When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’” Mark 10:13-15 (NIV)
3. They are the most receptive to the gospel.
One exciting aspect of visiting the work of Heart for Lebanon is watching the children learn in the different environments that we provide for them. One of the first things you will notice is how engaged they are. They ask great questions and many of them share what they have learned with other children in their community or with their parents at home.
One of our team members said it this way, “It’s bigger than this; reach a child, you reach a family. Reach the family, you reach the community. Reach a community, you can reach a nation.”Jeremiah says, “There is hope for your future, declares the Lord, and your children shall come back to their own country.” We are working to this end.
4. They are the hardest hit by poverty’s effects but the least able to do anything about their circumstances.
Children have been hit hard by the country’s deep economic crisis (exacerbated by the many other crises in Lebanon), which has left about eight in 10 people poor and threatens the education of some 700,000 children, a report by UNICEF stated.
The number of children and their families living in poverty in Lebanon is growing – daily.
Poverty effects each child’s basic rights to learn, play, and grow. We deeply believe that this is unacceptable.
Every child in poverty faces a unique combination of challenges. That’s why our enviroments do not just care for one area of a child’s life. Our unconditional, holistic children’s programs empower a child to overcome poverty in every area of their lives.
We believe helping a child with a Biblical value-based education, providing life-sustaining items, listening to them, providing fun activities in a loving environment, coupled with spiritual lessons is the most effective way to lead each child out poverty, for good!
5. They have a lifetime ahead of them.
A child’s life can be launched or derailed in a few short years, and the effects will last a lifetime. Poverty really does not allow children to dream. It often blocks their perspective on the world. But when children in poverty meet Jesus, their dreams become real and become even better.
God Gave Me Talents
“My children love the “Hope on Wheels” Club programs. They are attached to each and every activity. When they come home, they narrate the stories they heard, telling me what they did and learned. I am happy because they are learning about Jesus,” Toline told us.
Havand is Toline’s son and he is 13 years old and participates in the Hope on Wheels program in the Bekaa Valley. “I learned to start my prayer by praising, thanking, and glorifying God. I have learned about God’s great love. I heard this sentence and it caught my attention; God does not hate the sinner, but he hates sin. God loves and accepts everyone—even sinners,” he told us.
Havand continued, “Even if people reject us, God accepts us. I love the story of Daniel, who was thrown into the den of lions and nothing happened to him because his heart was with God. This story taught me to trust God, constantly pray, and follow Him. In addition, it taught me that no matter how big and hard the circumstances are, God will save and help us to overcome them. I also love the story of Jonah. Through it, I have learned to obey God and listen to his word. No one can hide from God; He knows everything about us. God loves us and he will forgive us when we come back to him.”
“I have learned many important lessons. There, I learned that I am beautiful, special, precious, and talented. I thought that I had no talents, but I have discovered that God gave everyone several gifts. I have a talent for playing the buzuq, repairing motorcycles, and taking care of plants.” Havand concluded.
The psalmist entreated the Lord for blessing on a most noble task when he asked,
“When I am old and grayheaded,
O God, do not fosake me,
Until I declare Your strength to this generation.”
(Psalm 71:18 NKJV
Dwight L. Moody added:
“If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God.” –
*PLEASE NOTE: A national census has not been conducted in Lebanon since 1932, before the founding of the modern-day Lebanon. Consequently, there is an absence of accurate up-to-date data. However, most agree to use UNHCR numbers or UN numbers when available.