Mid-Summer 2017 Update

Dear Ministry Partners,

You have often heard me mention our vision statement: driven by the compassionate heart of Jesus Christ, Heart for Lebanon exists to see lives changed and communities transformed. Since our beginning, our team has made it clear that what moves and motivates us to serve is Christ’s compassionate heart for those who have suffered tremendously. 

All of us in Lebanon have experienced tremendous hardship throughout our civil war. For 18 years we were running for our lives, looking for refuge in safer parts of Lebanon or in neighboring countries. Many of us have immigrated to foreign lands after seeing our homes destroyed and our loved ones hurt. So, we are not strangers to the horrific stories of hardship we hear from the Iraqi and Syrian refugees we serve. In fact, we can so easily relate to most of what we hear. It brings back memories of our own experiences. 

It is also important to mention that what we hear and experience today reminds us that we are serving people from the same nation who hurt us in the recent past. Syria occupied our land for 30 years and the Syrian government was heavily involved in our politics and fueling our conflict. If it were not for the love of Christ that we have experienced, if it was not for His compassionate heart that we have vividly seen expressed to us from the church community at large, it would be very difficult to forget. Christ’s forgiveness to us is the only factor that helps us forgive those who have hurt us the most and calls us to help them in their times of need. Thus, what drives us, what calls us to serve, is His compassionate heart in us.

So, if Christ’s compassionate heart is what drives us to serve those in need, what does seeing lives changed and communities transformed mean? True, we provide humanitarian aid such as food and basic hygiene supplies to help the refugee population survive the hardship of living in a foreign land. True, we provide education for children at risk. But when can we tell that lives have been changed and communities are being transformed? After all, this is our ultimate goal at Heart for Lebanon. Unconditional aid is the basis of our work. But as trust is built though our relational engagement and our daily interaction with the refugee population many are asking truth related questions: questions about forgiveness, acceptance of others, faith, and God. Our teams are trained to answer these questions and to help unpack the truth we have in our faith in Jesus Christ. When trust is built, refugees are willing to listen. When trust is built, walls that separate us are put down and many are coming to Christ. 

Today, Heart for Lebanon has multiple weekly Bible study groups in the Bekaa Valley, in the South of Lebanon, and Beirut. We celebrate the fact that many individuals, young and old, men and women, are participating in each of our gatherings. Many are being discipled and others are still seeking honest answers to their quest for the truth. No matter what stage of their journey they are, Heart for Lebanon is there to walk that path with them and to help lead them from despair to hope in Jesus Christ. This has been an amazing journey. We celebrate every life that has accepted Christ as his or her personal savior. We celebrate every family that has committed to live for Him.

The ultimate celebration came on July 2nd as our first Worship Gathering of Christ followers took place in the South of Lebanon. Friends, lives are being changed and communities are behind transformed. Today, we are seeing the fruit of that. We joyfully welcome this new family of believers and pray that many will grow in their faith and go deeper in their walk with God because of this worship gathering. 

Pray with us for wisdom, protection, and for guidance from above. Pray with us that many will participate in this Gathering and that other communities of faith will emerge throughout the country of Lebanon.

Thank you for your prayers and for supporting the ministry of Heart for Lebanon and for helping us see lives changed and communities transformed. 

Camille Melki,

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