Category: Newsletter

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Newsletter

Summer of Hope Kickoff

Heart for Lebanon is launching “Summer of Hope”. Join us for a live conversation just days before it’s launched. 

Now more than ever Lebanon is in dire need of the Gospel. The already strained situation in Lebanon is being exacerbated by the repercussions of the Israel-Hezbollah conflict. 

Heart for Lebanon is raising up a new generation, a generation that will not revert to anger, to hatred, to revenge, but rather reverts to love, forgiveness, and acceptance that Jesus provides. 

Join us for a special call with our co-founders on May 22nd @10am focusing on our Summer of Hope. Why is now the time to reach the children affected by war and regional conflict? What happens if we do not reach them now?

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Newsletter

Overcomplicating Generosity

We are all faced with a multitude of different things that are competing for our attention and so we have become prone to falling into that trap of stretching ourselves too thin and saying yes to one more thing that we think will define what we stand for and contribute to the “legacy” we want to build for ourselves. This sentiment is most certainly true in the West and in other areas of the world where time is of the essence and name recognition has become the gold standard. For individuals and families living in a state of extreme vulnerability and sudden spiritual and physical poverty, time seems to have halted quickly and the days are long reminding many of the state of despair they are confronted with. This latter reality is what most of the people living in Lebanon are facing.

Legacy planning, and future strategic thinking among Christians in Lebanon has become extremely rare because of the imminent physical needs that need to be met. Surprisingly though, the exact opposite mindset can be found at both of Heart for Lebanon’s Hope Evangelical Churches (Zahleh & Ghazieh). In a recent conversation with our lead pastors of each respective church, they expressed their admiration for those living out their faith generously through the life of the church in different forms but most surprisingly in their commitment to tithe from what little they have. With no resources or planning guides to help them plan out their finances, individuals who have been touched by the ministry of Heart for Lebanon and have been transformed by the Hope that is found in Christ have been worshiping with their resources for greater Kingdom impact.

Hearing our pastors share story after story of the difficult situations that the families endure is a testimony of their simple act of obedience toward God’s commandment of giving Him what He has blessed us with. Heart for Lebanon is a ministry that believes in the transformative power of the Gospel when spoken in the context of a credible relationship to make disciples of Jesus Christ. One of our core beliefs is to add value to the people we serve. By adding value to them with a message of Christ’s Hope, they are leaving a Legacy that will change the Kingdom here on earth and in heaven. Likewise, when we slow down and realize that leaving an earthly legacy is not about our material possessions and that generosity has only become complicated because of competing earthly desires, we are able to leave a Christ-centered legacy.

For our partners and friends who live in the United States, Heart for Lebanon has partnered with Financial Planning Ministries (FPM), a trusted Christian nonprofit organization that serves over 150 ministry partners. FPM and Heart for Lebanon both believe in Christ-centered stewardship. By advocating for Christ-centered stewardship and responsible estate planning, FPM has helped individuals protect their resources from going to probate and has directed an estimated two billion dollars towards Christian organizations through planned giving.

If you would like to learn more about this partnership and what it can mean for you, please reach out to May-Lee Melki Constantine at may-lee.melki@heartforlebanon.org

Together we are leaving a Legacy in the form of a generation of disciples who will positively impact Lebanon and the region to reflect the love of Christ.

May-Lee Melki Constantine
Strategic Engagement Manager

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Newsletter

Heart for Lebanon’s Endowment Fund

by Tom Atema

The Heart for Lebanon’s Endowment Fund is to provide support for our ministry work in Lebanon, especially in the area of Missional Leadership Development.  The financial support this Endowment Fund will provide is above and beyond the programs supported through the yearly operating budget.

This fund provides ways and structures for financial investors who have the desire to help Heart for Lebanon accomplish its mission of making disciples* through charitable giving that is consistent with their own, and Heart for Lebanon’s mission and purpose to extend the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.

Today, many in the Missional Leadership Development program are leading small groups and discipling others in homes across Southern Lebanon. This fund will allow these groups to expand and multiply.  The men and women who are accepted into this program may also receive Family Care items, enrollment in the H.O.P.E. (Helping Overcome Poverty through Education) Program for their children, and their children may be part of Hope on Wheels Activities. These men and women will be part of our relational engagement environments – Bible Studies and Worship Gatherings.

Annually, the Financial Committee meets to recommend to the Board of Directors the distribution (if any) to be made from the Endowment Fund. The principle of the Endowment Fund cannot be used, so just the interest is used for funding. There is no obligation to make distributions from the Endowment Fund in any given year. The Endowment Fund is not intended for normal operating budgeted expenditures or additional programs of Heart for Lebanon. Its intended purpose is to be used for Heart for Lebanon’s Missional Leadership Development Program(s).  No administration or fundraising cost are taken out and every dollar given goes 100% into this fund.

For more information contact Tom at tom.atema@heartforlebanon.org

*Heart for Lebanon’s definition of a disciple:  “One who is a follower of Jesus Christ and is becoming increasingly more like Him, does life in community with others, helps others, and is sharing their faith.”

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Newsletter

The Church is a Center for Education!


by Camille Melki

Places of worship, predominantly churches, were historically built at the center of towns and villages. In fact, the development of those towns and villages were built around them making churches a gathering place for everything: for worship, for refuge, for town meetings, and for education.

Churches were known as a gathering place. They were a trusted place to go to when danger/need arose. They were also a place where education was offered for the young and old. Caring churches offered good education, both Biblical and academic. Until today, the best schools and universities in Lebanon were started and are owned and operated by Christian institutions. 

We at Heart for Lebanon desire for our Hope Ministry Centers in Zahleh and Ghazieh to continue to be these trusted places to go. Our teams work hard to help the communities around us feel welcomed and drawn to the love and care they receive at any of our Hope Evangelical Church services. Our church communities are gathering places for people of all backgrounds. Locals and refugees from Christian, Muslim, Kurdish, or Arab backgrounds, are all welcome.  The goal is to provide the best services so that people who walk through our doors will quickly realize that we are truly driven by the compassionate heart of Jesus Christ and that we exist to see lives changed and communities transformed.

Sunday School classes are both fun and educating. For some children, a Sunday School class is the first opportunity to hear the Jesus story. Bible stories are taught and Biblical principles are lived out among the students and their teachers. Sunday School makes church relevant to children and their families; it makes Christian education a center piece in the lives of the old and young.

The same is true for the two Hope Schools we have in Zahleh and Ghazieh. The educational curriculum is one of the best. It is built to provide a safe learning environment for children at risk. Our teachers are well trained and equipped to address the emotional needs of students who have gone through traumatic experiences from the on-going war in Syria and the conflict in Lebanon. Teaching Arabic, English, math, science and other subjects is very important. But at times, a teacher is obliged to deviate from a prepared lesson to help a student who seems to be struggling with emotional pain of the present and the past. This is only right. This is another opportunity to show the love of Christ in meaningful and tangible ways. It also gives other students the opportunity to live out what they have learned from the various Bible character traits they learned in Chapel or in one of their Bible class hours. 

Students and parents take education seriously. They are well aware that in order to properly address poverty, education needs to be front and center of their development. Education improves knowledge and skills. Christian education builds character. Put together, a good Christian-based school offers knowledge and skill development grounded on a sound and healthy Biblical foundation. This is the mission of our educational program. We desire to graduate future leaders in their societies; individuals capable and willing to lead with integrity.

Each of our churches this summer will continue to have special activities for the children and youth that are both fun, educational and Bible centered.

At Heart for Lebanon, we desire to put the church back at the center of education. We strive to see the church at the heart of a child’s formation and character building. We pray that our churches, our ministry centers, and our non-formal educational programs are always looked at as a trusted place for learning and growing. We also pray that our communities of faith are a safe and welcoming environment for those who are seeking answers and are looking for the truth. We are here to lead people from despair to hope in Christ. Education is this great tool to help us accomplish this goal!

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Newsletter

Journey of Hope Podcast

By Elio Constantine

Jesus used parables. We are using podcasts.

Journey of Hope is Heart for Lebanon’s podcast, a key ministry platform of The Middle East Center for Justice and Missions. Each episode is designed to tell the story of moving people from despair to hope. Just as Jesus told stories in parables for people at the time to understand, we’re using podcasting to tell the story in ways we are familiar with today. “Journey of Hope” will give you the chance to listen in on conversations with ministry and field experts talking about different ways people are served in the country of Lebanon, how to ensure the effectiveness of this work, and most exciting of all, you will listen to firsthand stories of change and discipleship.

In-depth Exploration of Ministry in the Middle East: Go beyond the first layer of talking about ministry. “Journey of Hope” engages in deeper understanding of ministry in such a unique place in our world. Exploring the historical, ethnic, and cultural contexts of Lebanon and the region.

Meaningful Conversations: Each interview will feature ministry and field experts fully immersed in the work of ministry with Heart for Lebanon, as well as firsthand stories of individuals and families impacted by the love of Christ.

Universal Application: Biblical principles are universal and practical. Find out how Heart for Lebanon’s holistic approach to ministry can be put into practice in your own community anywhere in the world.

Interactive Format: “Journey of hope” encourages dialogue and conversations. Feel free to reach out to us with questions and thoughts on:  podcast@hearforlebanon.org

“Journey of Hope” is a platform to advocate for Justice in a place so desperately in need of it. Not the punitive approach to justice you might think of, Biblical justice seeks restoration and reconciliation to repair the harm done. Not to punish the offender, but build right relationships between individuals and communities. (Leviticus 24:17-22)

Ready to be part of the journey?

Subscribe to “Journey of Hope ” on your favorite podcast platform, or sign up for updates here, and start you own journey from despair to hope. Let every episode be an inspiration for you to learn more about what God is doing in Lebanon and the Middle East, and ignite your passion to look around you and find ways to minister in your own community.

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Newsletter

How Do We Pray for Children Over the Summer?

By John Crump

As summer approaches, one reality in the United States and Lebanon is that children will be out of their regular school routines and schedules. While this break for students is helpful, it can also present some challenges. Heart for Lebanon’s Children-at-Risk initiative is designed to bring hope to children who face extreme challenges, especially during the summer when resources and encouragement are less consistent while school is out. We are calling the summer of 2024 a “Summer of Hope” and our Children-at-Risk team is making plans to be a vehicle of that hope for the children we serve. Whether it is through our sports programs, our clubs (similar to backyard Bible clubs you might find in the USA), or our Hope on Wheels programs, we plan to be a great source of hope for children and their families. As great as all of these programs can be, however, there is another needed element that each of you can help us with:  PRAYER.

How should we pray for children during the summer? One way to approach prayer this summer is this: New Season, New Prayer Focus. Let the change of seasons refocus us on praying for God to accomplish things that can uniquely happen during the summer. Author John Piper said, “Summer is for seeing and savoring Christ”. Pray that the children and families that we serve, above all, would see Jesus in a new way and want to know Him better. Pray that our Children at Risk team would be uniquely equipped to love and serve children and families in a way that brings a greater understanding of the Hope of Jesus.

In a 2020 article on praying for our children (Crossway.org), author Sam Crabtree said this, “Wise parents pray AS children”. We might amend that to say, wise adults start praying for children during the summer months by praying AS children. In other words, we remember that God is our Father and that He cares for us just as we care for the children around us. So, we might start by asking ourselves, “What do I see God providing for me right now”? We might say things like, food, shelter, love, encouragement, friendship, and many other possible things. Then we begin praying for those things to be provided for children at risk both in Lebanon and around the world. When our Children at Risk team helps meet some of these types of needs our prayer is that it will bring HOPE to the children and families that we serve. Please pray with us that God will bring this hope through our efforts!

One unique opportunity that happens during the summer is that we can actually connect with and reach children who are not attending our H.O.P.E. (Helping Overcome Poverty through Education) Program during the school year. Pray that God would help us bring His love, care, and compassion to these children and their families while we have the opportunity.

Finally, pray with us that many of the children and families we serve will get to know Jesus better through our efforts. Pray that they might take steps of faith that can not only change their lives in the present, but change the trajectory of their families for the future! Thank you for joining us in prayer for our “Summer of Hope” in 2024!

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Capital Campaign

Heart for Lebanon has launched a Capital Campaign for a new Hope Ministry Center in the south of Lebanon, in Ghazieh, to meet the growing ministry needs in the South.

The year 2019, saw the completion of the Hope Ministry Center in Zahleh, Bekaa Valley. Our Center in Zahleh has greatly expanded the ministry of Heart for Lebanon in that region. It now houses the Hope Evangelical Church (Arabic and Kurdish congregations), multiple Bible Studies and Discipleship classes, Missional Leadership Training Center, the non-formal educational program for children and adults, medical and dental clinics, warehouse and distribution center, and many other ministry programs.

Five years later, Heart for Lebanon enters another Capital Campaign with great anticipation to see what the Lord is preparing for our ministry in southern Lebanon. The Hope Ministry Center in Ghazieh will truly expand our reach to the 58 towns and villages our team is currently serving in that region. We look with excitement for the completion of Phase One of this campaign in 2026. This phase will enable us to move the Hope Evangelical Church in Ghazieh to our own premises and will enable us to add new Bible Studies and Discipleship classes to the growing faith community in Southern Lebanon.

Heart for Lebanon is strategically located in Ghazieh, a coastal town between two major cities with great Biblical importance: Sidon and Tyre. Our team has already built an amazing relational network among the Lebanese and refugee communities in Southern Lebanon, as well as earned the respect of the local authorities, and our ministry programs are growing exponentially. Once fully completed, this Ministry Center will offer new Christ-centered ministry opportunities where the Gospel is boldly preached and new disciples are equipped to serve in a Muslim dominant culture.

The region of Southern Lebanon is always in the news for the wrong reasons. Political and border tensions are constant reasons for concern. But the people of that region are also thirsty for the truth. Muslim families are tired of the pain and suffering they have caused and/or experienced over the years. Our faith community has an “Esther Moment” to point them to Jesus; the author and perfecter of our faith.

I invite you to pray with us as we venture into this new Capital Campaign. We are confident that God is preparing the next chapter in our ministry; to help lead people from despair to hope in Christ.

100% of investments into our Endowment Fund and/or our Capital Campaign go to the respective project. All administration and fundraising costs have been covered.

Newsletter

Winterization Report

This winter Heart for Lebanon took a step to alleviate the cold for vulnerable communities. Recognizing the pressing need to safeguard the well-being of both Lebanese citizens and refugees, we initiated a comprehensive Winterization Program. This aimed to provide vital winterization packages items such as blankets, jackets, socks, hats, and scarves to those in need.

This initiative not only sought to address the immediate challenges posed by winter weather but also aimed to serve others as Christ Jesus commanded and reach those in need with the gospel of salvation. The effort was undertaken by both Bekaa and South Lebanon Ministry Centers, and even had an impact across the border into Syria.

The initiative specifically targeted the most vulnerable families grappling with the challenges of winter and burdened with financial constraints. A significant percentage of these families find themselves residing in camps characterized by extremely challenging living conditions.

Following the distribution of winterization items, there has been a noticeable improvement in the well-being of recipients. The impact of this initiative goes beyond the tangible, enhancing the overall resilience of these communities. It has helped to build new, and strengthen existing, relationships. This initiative has given us opportunities to have spiritual conversations. Some are already in Bible Studies.

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Special Music Project Complete!

You know how important music is to your church and for your worship! What if you grew up Muslim where you never knew music because it wasn’t allowed? This is a sad reality for many of the people we serve. When they meet Jesus and realize how beautiful and powerful music is, they want to participate. Because of investors like you, they now have the opportunity!

Heart for Lebanon’s Hope Evangelical Church in Zahle, has started a Music School. The purpose of this school is to help talented young men and women develop their potential to use music as a ministry. The goal is to train up a new generation of Worship Leaders for the nation of Lebanon and around the Middle East. The interest in the Music School is very high.

We are seeking your prayers for this new ministry. Thanks to some of our church partners we now have the funds to purchase top-level instruments in Lebanon and we have teachers who are already involved in helping students become better Worship leaders.  We thank God for this achievement among new believers and we are excited for the near future to see more students learning on new instruments.

Thank you so much to the churches that helped with this project this past Christmas season!

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Radio Partners

The students at our H.O.P.E. (Helping Overcome Poverty through Education) Program celebrated Christmas with a special event last year. The event was filled with fun activities, the Christmas story as recorded in Luke, and lots of Christmas excitement.

At the end of the day, each child received a special surprise Christmas gift that the children were so excited to open. The Christmas party and the gifts were made possible by the many listeners of Star 93.3. God is using STAR every day to impact people across New York city and the Tri-State region, and in the nation of Lebanon.

We are so grateful for the STAR listeners who made this special Christmas event possible that allowed us to deepen a relationship with each child and their family. It was a truly joyful day for the children in our H.O.P.E. Program.

Also, thanks to the generosity of our radio partners at WDAC in Lancaster, WTBN throughout Central Florida and the greater Tampa area, and WBYN in the Philadelphia area, many vulnerable children and their families in Lebanon were equipped to face this cold winter with Winterization kits and supplies essential for survival.