We Love People

We develop godly men and women through our Missional Leadership Development Program because WE LOVE PEOPLE.

Once again, the Middle East is in a major crisis. Lebanon is not immune from the negative effects of all that is happening in Gaza and Israel. Scrimmages along the southern border are taking place every day. Hezbollah and Israel are having daily exchanges of fire, and those seem to be increasing. The recent assassination of several high-level Hamas leaders in Beirut only created further escalations at the border and loud calls for retaliation. Tension is on the rise; people are fearing for the worst.

In every crisis that Southern Lebanon has had in the past – and is going through today – people are asking questions: Why are we going through this? Who is ultimately in control? Does God exist? And if so, does He care for our miseries? These questions give Heart for Lebanon a golden opportunity to step in and try to address the fears and worries people are experiencing. It’s important for us to realize that we have an open door for proclaiming the Gospel that historically hasn’t been a possibility for many decades. The current conflict has made us think, in a new way, how we are going to respond to meet the growing number of questions that are arising – every question is a “Jesus question,” and we need to be able to answer each one.

This recent crisis at our borders has created a new wave of internally displaced individuals that have fled their towns and villages and moved closer to Sidon and Tyre (two coastal cities with Biblical significance). Heart for Lebanon immediately increased the number of families we serve. Our Hope Center in Southern Lebanon added 500 newly displaced families to our Family Care Initiative; providing food and basic essentials to help those who are suffering the most. Meeting people’s physical and emotional needs is a priority in times of conflict. They need to feel and experience the love of Christ in meaningful and tangible ways. This is foundational to building trust among those we serve.

We need to be reminded that people in Southern Lebanon are also thirsty and searching for the truth; truth they once thought was found in radical Islam. They are noticing that anger and frustration against everyone and anyone that might think differently than they do, is not satisfying and only leads to more hatred and violence. They are looking for something other than more radicalism. Please keep in mind a vacuum has been created between what they see and what they are told. People are searching for answers.

This is our Esther moment; people are searching for answers and the answer is in Jesus! They are searching for the truth; and truth can only be found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! The Gospel can and will fill their hearts with love, dignity, and purpose.

Heart for Lebanon has a unique ongoing ministry in Southern Lebanon. Our ministry has a footprint and a reputation in part because of our relational engagement with each person and family we serve in 56 villages, 3 large cities and several towns. Each one of those villages and communities have at least one if not many homes that are receiving physical care from Heart for Lebanon.  They also receive ongoing relational engagement visits that help with the emotional needs and draw us into conversations about Jesus Christ.  Through 19 different small Bible study/discipleship groups that meet weekly, with more than 250 adults attending these groups, people are given the opportunity to learn and get their questions answered. In addition to the discipleship classes, students in our non-formal educational program and in our Children-at-Risk program are also receiving Biblically based character formation training through skits, Bible lessons and Chapel held weekly for children.

All in all, Heart for Lebanon is engaging a large population in different areas of Southern Lebanon by strategically planting Hope Evangelical Church in Ghazieh just south of Sidon and north of Tyre. This church holds an Arabic speaking worship service that meets weekly on Sunday morning with an average of 350 adults in attendance. This congregation is made up of adults from Kurdish, Arabic Sunni, Arabic Shia, nominal Christians (Orthodox, Maronite, Catholics, and Evangelicals). The beauty of this is the mix of diverse ethnic groups who meet in one place at one time to worship the living Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ. It’s in this church environment where spiritual gifts and talents are discovered. Some have the gift of leadership and become students in our Missional Leadership program. This is what we mean when we talk about our ministry being holistic. Our goal is not only to care for their physical and educational needs, but also to share the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our mission is to “Make Disciples”.  Here is where our students in our Missional Leadership Training have an opportunity to begin to use, in a practical way, what they have been learning.

Our goal for the next three years (starting in 2024) is to prepare for greater opportunities that we believe God has in store because of this current crisis.  How can we accomplish this?  Our Missional Leadership Development Program students now have a practical, hands-on experience as part of their training.  As we develop godly men and women through our Missional Leadership Development Program, they will lead and coach new cell groups every year appointing a group leader for each small group.  Our goal in 2024 is to develop at least 35 small groups, each one with a leader who is mentored by a student in our Missional Leadership Development Program.  All these leaders will be part of our Missional Leadership Development Program in preparation to commit to lead a small group.

We believe that you have played a vital role in getting us to this point and we just want to say THANK YOU so much!

Camille Melki