Heart for Lebanon believes deeply that everyone matters to God. He is not surprised by COVID-19 or this unprecedented economic crisis in Lebanon or the recent explosion. He is the way, the truth and the life; therefore, He has given us an unprecedented opportunity like never before in Lebanon’s history to address poverty from a Biblical viewpoint. We know after 14 years that the result of a bag of food, a blanket, and an education leads to over 1,000 adults every month in Bible Studies and the planting of 3 church congregations. Heart for Lebanon has two environments that help to show people we honestly care, that God loves them unconditionally, and that God is personally interested in them.
The first is Family Care which starts with meeting the physical needs of each family, helping them unconditionally to sustain and deal with surviving daily life.
Meeting the physical and emotional needs of others is the privilege of every follower of Jesus Christ. The old saying is correct, “People need to know you care before they care about what you know”. You will never know what people care about without spending significant time with them. Remember, listening is 90% of any great conversation and it’s through these conversations where we learn about their past life, their present circumstances, and their future dreams. When we listen and participate in a conversation (which will look different for each person) it eventually leads to a platform where we can help with their spiritual needs because our relationship is built on trust.
Jesus himself used food to meet the physical needs of people and he never built dependency. Food, rugs, mattresses, warm clothes, shoes, hygiene items, personal conversations are all means of restoring and healing broken relationships. Hospitality can be one of the best and easiest ways in bringing peace and grace to a hurting life. Helping with physical needs leads people to say, “I’m envious of how well you treat others.” It changes everything when people in need see this action and it opens the door for a conversation about our faith in Jesus Christ.
The first century followers of Jesus modeled this extremely well and the result over a relatively short period of time was, “thousands were added to the church daily”. Those first century followers had a faith that did things for others because they wanted to show what love really looked like before they were ever introduced to the truth.
Meeting physical needs is a consistency issue and doing so with no hidden agenda or formula is the attitude every follower of Jesus Christ must have. Family Care is all about solving physical problems a child and their family have. For our full paper on the topic “Relational Unconditional Ministry” click here.
Children-at-Risk is the second environment Heart for Lebanon uses to address poverty. Child labor, prostitution, early child marriages, sex trafficking, radical recruitment, use of illegal substances, and drug trafficking are all serious consequences of poverty in the Middle East.
The economic, social, and political mess Lebanon is currently enduring greatly affects the vulnerable communities. Local and refugee children are the ones who suffer the most. Children are subject not only to malnourishment and the lack of proper sanitation, they are also subject to horrific exposures to illegal and immoral treatment/behavior. Children are the ones who suffer the most.
The country of Lebanon does not lack regulation to address these problems. But it surely lacks the will to implement them firmly and regularly. With the increasing political and economic challenges, it seems Lebanon’s government is treading water on all fronts. Such indifference by those in power only encourages pimps, sex traffickers, and drug pushers to increase their businesses and expand their reach into vulnerable communities; in particular among children at risk.
Heart for Lebanon believes that awareness through education and relationships, combined with Biblical studies on these subjects and related issues, is an important component in addressing these problems. We are convinced that prevention is the best cure. Our intention is to tackle the problem before predators get ahold of the children we are called to serve. Through our H.O.P.E (Helping Overcome Poverty through Education) Program and our Hope on Wheels programs, Heart for Lebanon looks at every opportunity to expose the danger and educate the students to prevent them from falling victims of such illegal and immoral acts.
Displaying the reality of God’s Kingdom means we don’t stop at proclaiming the goodness of God, but demonstrate what His Kingdom is like by serving one another, meeting physical needs, and bearing the burdens of our neighbors. Look for our next post where we will share our approach on reaching, educating, and discipling the at-risk children of Lebanon.