Lebanon (MNN) — France is hosting its third global conference in twelve months today to raise funds for Lebanon. In partnership with the United Nations, France hopes to secure more than $350 million in humanitarian aid on the first anniversary of the tragic Beirut blast.
“The explosion of last year just put everything in Lebanon at a faster pace; it expedited all the problems. The World Bank calls it a ‘deliberate depression.’ That phrase has never been used by the World Bank in its history,” Heart for Lebanon co-founder Tom Atema says,
“We’ve had a year of speeches; lots of deadlines, lots of threats by the international community, but nothing has changed. Things have gotten worse.”
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Hope for Lebanon
Decades of corruption and mismanagement brought Lebanon to the brink of breakdown in late 2019 as protests broke out nationwide and people demanded change. Then, the August 4 port explosion propelled the country into a new decline. Today, daily essentials like water are quickly becoming unavailable; food costs have risen by 700-percent since 2019.
Last year, the global community gave $1.6 billion of relief aid to Lebanon. More than a third of that total came from the United States, while the European Union provided 25-percent.
Money isn’t enough to fix Lebanon’s problems. “When you look around Lebanon, everybody’s queuing up in lines waiting for one thing or another… and they’re humiliated,” Atema says.
“The situation is ripe with uncertainty, which makes the number one crisis in Lebanon hopelessness.”
That’s why Heart for Lebanon is laying foundations for a new holistic recovery plan. Starting September 1, the ministry and its local church partners will help 400 families most affected by the Beirut blast. Want to make a tangible and spiritual difference in Lebanon? Team up with Heart for Lebanon and local churches here.
Most importantly, pray. “Our team is not hopeless. We have the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but [at] the same time, we have this human side that gets tired,” Atema says.
“Pray God will not let us get weary in well-doing. Pray we will have the resources, the fuel in our bucket, to do the ministry He’s called us to do.”
In the header image, Gospel workers help clean up a church sanctuary following the August 4, 2020 port explosion in Beirut. (Photo courtesy of Heart for Lebanon)