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
The Muslim uncle of a 17-year-old girl under demonic influence was visibly irritated when local missionaries showed up at the door of their home in a refugee camp. The Muslim parents of the girl had requested they come to their home at the camp in Lebanon for Syrian refugees, but her uncle did not approve, especially as it was the Islamic month of Ramadan and the girl had already driven out a Muslim cleric who tried to help her. “The cleric had been met by the young woman’s screams and her aggressively pushing him away from the home,” said the leader of the local ministry. “As he began to leave, their daughter encouraged his quick movement from the property as she picked up stones and began throwing them his way. He left promptly and did not return nor seek out her parents.”
Students who graduated from a local ministry’s seminary are not so much beginning service as they are continuing in ministries they have already practiced. “They have been faithfully serving the Lord in each of their unique contexts and putting theology into practice all throughout their training period,” the ministry leader said.
Despite the presence in a refugee camp of Islamic relatives and neighbors, a Muslim family of six has put their faith in Christ after hearing the gospel from local missionaries who provided aid. The family members are inviting others in the camp to meetings.
Syrian refugees and Lebanese families hit hard by economic turmoil experienced the love of Christ through local missionaries helping them emotionally and physically. Workers provided food for 37,600 refugees from Syria and 18,720 Lebanese nationals over the course of six months.
The parents and four children of a Muslim family in a refugee camp put their faith in Christ after local missionaries had several gospel discussions with them. In discipleship they are growing in their faith and are inviting others in the camp to meetings; recently a distant relative also accepted Christ. In various outreaches, workers recently planted seven house churches.