By Tom Atema
At the end of 2022, Barna Research released some fascinating and amazing statistics.
“Christians out-gave the U.S. Government in addressing global poverty in 2022.”
Then the folks at Barna added this, “Whatever folks might say or think, the church remains a seismic value-add to the world.”
Let me loudly say, THANK YOU for being a difference maker, thanks for doing what the “church” is called to do. You get it and I cannot thank you enough for your generosity.
I believe Christians give of their resources because they understand the U.S. Government, or any government, cannot solve the world’s poverty problem. Christians understand that feeding people, while commanded and necessary, is not enough and that’s one reason why they do more.
Since the Pandemic the global poverty rate has moved up from 7.8 to 9.1 percent. As the UN World Food Program announced in March of 2023 “Lebanon saw a 60% increase in food prices in 2022. Leaving 80% of Lebanese households and 99% of Syrian refugee households today with not enough money to buy food”.
While Heart for Lebanon is not a humanitarian aid organization, we use humanitarian aid – supplemental food and hygiene parcels, to meet people’s physical needs. However, on purpose, we go beyond the aid. We have developed what we refer to “Relational Relief” which is a key reason why we are Making Disciples.
The top 3 things that we believe are essential as we continue to meet people’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs through Relational Relief:
Now more than ever is the time for Christians to pray and pray strategically.
I am reminded of Gideon and his soldiers (Judges 6:1-7:25) who did not prevail because of strength or strategy, but because God was in their camp. We must never cease to pray as we consider the size of the challenges we encounter and the ruthlessness of the enemy we face.
Prayer enlists a God who is bigger than any problem and who has promised to be at our side as we engage with people in poverty. We are not just asking you to join our prayer team, we desire to pray for your needs as well. We are asking, as you pray for us, to send us your prayer requests at firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be our privilege to pray for you.
While we deeply depend on prayer, and the power that it brings, there is much that we can do and must do with our hands and feet.
For your local church, the most obvious place to start is with your neighbors; children need tutors, shut-ins need visitors, hurting people need shoulders to lean on. There are community projects that need your help and we are all commanded to care for the widows and orphans. Food pantries and lunch programs are a growing need. Your church should have a strategy so you’re not just delivering physical aid.
Many churches also want to act overseas. They desire to follow Jesus’ mandate and have a global strategy “to go into all the world.” It allows a small, medium, or large church to take smart, focused action in response to what God has laid on their hearts. For example, a need in Lebanon is to reach the largest unreached people group – children – and to “make disciples”.
Our desire is to partner together. A true partnership is a two-way street. Heart for Lebanon has deep roots and experience with proven outcomes when it comes to Relational Relief and we are eager to partner with churches that would like to learn how to move away from just delivering aid to delivering the Gospel. God has given us knowledge and experience that we desire to give back to the church. Just as churches offer us their prayers and financial resources – we desire a “partnership”.
We use the word “invest” because as you pray and financially invest, you are participating in what God is accomplishing in Lebanon.
We will do our best to provide individuals, businesses, and churches with a dividend on your investment. Even the smallest churches can make a big difference! We live in the wealthiest Christian nation in the history of Christianity. No matter the size of the financial investment, it’s everyone doing what God is calling them to do, not in equal amounts but in equal sacrifice. A modest monthly financial gift can be lifesaving for someone in need.
For individuals and business, we have resources to help you save money:
For churches, we have a give back program to help your people be fantastic stewards. Thus, expanding your income in the future:
For those who would like to invest in reaching children and in making disciples, you can do so for about .97 cents a day, or $29.00 a month. This will help us reach a child and their family of 6 (on average). Reaching them with Relational Relief that goes beyond the physical aid and includes in-depth conversations leading to Bible Studies, church discipleship programs, and Christ himself. This ultimately leads to individuals sharing their faith journey with family and friends continuing the mission of making disciples.
Would you prayerfully consider investing .97 cents a day?
Thank you so much for your generosity and your heart to make a real difference.