It can be difficult these days to keep up with everything that is happening in Lebanon. The Lebanese currency is at its all-time low, fuel shortages are frequent, and medicine and other medical supply shortages are threatening the lives of many. The Lebanese population in its majority lives way under the poverty line.
The families are facing dire economic conditions and are in desperate need of assistance. The currency is in a freefall, while there seems to be no ceiling to the prices as they continue to increase. The basic necessities are out of reach to millions; that includes food, water, and heating. The financial crisis has forced them to drastically change their routines, jobs, and lifestyles to cope with the rising costs.
Life becomes even harder in winter season for many families who live in the Beqaa Valley. The winter here is very harsh, bringing heavy snow and pushing temperatures below freezing. The families greatest fear in these areas is how to keep their children warm.
Due to the ongoing economic crisis, the price of diesel has skyrocketed leaving a large percentage of families unable to heat their houses. The price of diesel that most people in Lebanon use for heating exceeds the minimum wage (around $50 USD) as it reaches more than 700,000 LBP ($60 USD) per 20 liters, which is barely enough to heat the house for four days, sometimes less.
And for the families that use firewood for heating, it is not uncommon for them to need up to 6 tons of wood per season which is approximately 36 million LBP, close to a thousand USD.
Families in Zahle and the villages around cannot use electric heaters because, when there are no outages, the bills are sky-high.
As our HOPE Evangelical Church Zahle members go on visits, they feel the pain and suffering of people. Some families do apologize for not being able to welcome us in their homes because they are unable to warm it. We see children wrap themselves up in blankets, shivering from the cold. Sometimes we see families putting paper and some small branches in their diesel heaters to start a fire and keep it going.
In the midst of suffering and need, the HOPE Evangelical Church Zahle, through a joint initiative with Heart for Lebanon, provided diesel to 40 families that are in much need. The families were so happy to receive this gift to be able to heat their homes. “The children were so happy to get warm after a whole month of feeling cold,” one of the families told us.
“This is a prayer answered; God is good!” A mother said with tears in her eyes. “My children got really sick because of the cold. Thank you for your precious help! Thank you for thinking of us. We really needed someone to help us to get diesel for heating,” she gladly added.
That was an initiative to protect families from the cold weather. They, on the other hand, overwhelmed us with words of gratitude.
We thank our Lord for this opportunity to serve. We thank Him for the great impact that this support made. The people who were supported did not just feel the warmth inside their homes, but also inside their hearts because they felt that our Lord Jesus is taking care of them personally through the church.
“But now we still have faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love”
(1 Corinthians 13:13).