Nearly 11 years ago, the war in Syria began and violence escalated, which led to a Syrian refugee crisis. Today, around 1.5 million refugees remain displaced in Lebanon, the highest proportion of refugees anywhere in the world. For most of Heart for Lebanon’s 16 years serving in Lebanon, part of its operations was relatively centered on helping refugees and asylum-seekers annually from elsewhere in the Middle East alongside the vulnerable families of the host community. By assessing the specific needs of each family, Heart for Lebanon’s ministries aims to care and transform those vulnerable families in all aspects of their life.
Wafaa, a 26-years-old Kurdish woman and a mother of four, fled the war in 2014 and came to Lebanon after saving herself from the daily bomb attacks. “They used to attack our village every night, that’s why we came to Lebanon, my son could not sleep at night because of the bombs; we were very scared. The day we left, a bomb destroyed our house a few minutes after departure. God protected us!” Wafaa said. “When we first came to Lebanon, we used to live with my parents and siblings and their spouses—more than four families in one room. It was difficult in so many ways. We were desperate, but that was our only option,” she added.
Wafaa later joined the Kurdish Bible study at the Hope Center in Bekaa. “In my neighborhood I met a lot of Christian neighbors. I always felt that they are happy; I always wondered why and how I can find this happiness. I started asking them about it! A friend I met told me about Hope Evangelical Church, and invited me to the Kurdish worship gathering. I started attending. What helped us is that the worship meetings were in Kurdish. Then, I was invited to the Kurdish women Bible study. I started asking more questions. Day after day, I felt that I am experiencing the love of Jesus,” Wafaa explained.
“I thought Jesus was a prophet, but at the center I experienced him as my personal savior. I love reading and learning more about Jesus daily! I attend the Bible study weekly, and after the meetings, I feel very happy and satisfied! I praise the Lord Jesus for all He has done for me,” she shared joyfully.
The Bible Study sessions aim to provide a place where people can come to ask questions, learn through a Biblical lens, and experience the unconditional love of Christ. The Kurdish Bible study at the Bekaa Hope Center is divided into 3 groups, and more than 100 women attend weekly. Through these sessions, Wafaa found joy.
“My daughter has vitiligo. When I found out about her case, I felt depressed and it affected my life. When I experienced the love of Jesus, I knew that He is in control and that He will protect her. My faith gave me peace and happiness, I cannot describe the joy I feel in my heart. Jesus changed my life upside down, and I cannot keep it to myself! Now and again, I arrange gatherings in my house for my non-Christian neighbors to tell them about the love of Jesus,” she empathized. “When the war happened in Syria, I questioned why this happened to us! When we came to Lebanon, and I decided to follow Jesus Christ, I thanked him for the crisis for it was the reason behind my faith,” she concluded.
“We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Roman 8:28