Local Missionaries in Lebanon
Politically and economically fractured, Lebanon’s religiously and ethnically mixed population has staggered from high unemployment and inflation, COVID-19, and the massive August 2020 chemical explosion in the port of Beirut. Amid this chaos and an influx of refugees from neighboring Syria, many people have turned to Christ.
Islam is the leading religion at more than 61 percent of the population, about evenly divided between Sunnis and Shiites. Christians amount to nearly 34 percent of the population. Among those identifying as Christians, Maronite Catholics are the largest group, followed by Greek Orthodox, and only 1 percent of the population is Protestant.
Arabic is the official national language while French can be used in legally prescribed instances. Nearly 40 percent of Lebanese people are considered francophone and another 15 percent “partial francophone,” while 70 percent of Lebanon’s secondary schools use French as a second language of instruction. English is increasingly used in business and science. About 5 percent of the population is Armenian and speak in their native tongue.
With the high cost of living getting higher every day, support for local missionaries is greatly needed. They are spreading word of eternal life in Christ in a variety of ways, with a remarkable number of saved souls especially in outreaches to children and refugees. Assistance to train Muslim-background leaders reaching refugees is needed. Newly believing refugees require discipleship training and gospel literature to be biblically grounded and to reach others with the gospel. Funding for Bibles, audio Bibles and the costs of rent and transportation is critical. One ministry seeks donations to continue bi-weekly Bible clubs that draw 600 children monthly; workers also reach youths in evangelistic sports camps, summer camps and other outreaches.
Besides working under difficult circumstances with scant resources, local missionaries are ministering to hurting people afflicted in many ways. Persecuted converts from Islam and other refugees need food, medicine and housing assistance. One ministry requests assistance to help 36 Christian families struggling to survive amid factory closings and mass unemployment.
Following governmental and economic collapse, local missionaries are providing health care at a medical clinic based in a native ministry community center. They are caring for increasing numbers of patients daily with medicines, physiotherapy, lab tests, spiritual counseling and other care. As workers provide a powerful demonstration of Christ’s love, they are reaching destitute families with the hope of the gospel.
Sources: Joshua Project, Wikipedia, CIA Factbook
How to Pray for
- Pray the Lord will provide resources for local missionaries and those they are serving to survive amid a ruined economy further afflicted by COVID-19.
- Pray that more youth leaders will be trained to meet the growing number of children wishing to participate in kids’ Bible clubs.
- Pray that Muslims putting their faith in Christ will be protected from violent hostility, and that those abandoned by family and friends will find new community in Christ.
More stories from Lebanon
A father of three young children was pleased when they became involved in a native Christian ministry’s youth program, and when he was laid off from one of two jobs he had taken to support his family, a native Christian worker offered to pray for him.
Children in a native ministry’s education program attend a daily chapel in which they sing, pray and hear a Bible story. The ministry reaches youth in multiple ways, including Bible clubs, youth camps and sports outreaches. Workers also reach out to the poor and marginalized. “As a result, many are coming to the Lord, especially the youth,” the ministry leader said.
The message of God’s love is bringing hope to both Lebanese nationals and refugees as they struggle to survive in an imploding economy. One ministry reached 400 people with the gospel at its worship meetings and other outreaches over six months, and another 500 received the message on live broadcasts of its Sunday services on Facebook.
A non-Christian retiree who lost most of his pension in Lebanon’s banking crisis of 2019 recently received help from a native ministry with acquiring the medications that he and his wife needed. He told Christian workers, “It is because of the strong faith that you people at the church have that I came to believe in Jesus too.”
The gospel is sounding forth among Syrian refugees as well as Lebanese nationals, with seven new house churches forming over a six-month period; two of them emerged among the refugees. Workers started small groups and led Bible studies while providing aid for both nationals and refugees.