Lebanon (MNN) — The success of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has emboldened like-minded militants in Lebanon who believe they can copy it. The Islamic State has declared a caliphate in Iraq and Syria in an effort to redraw the borders of the Middle East.
Jed Hamoud with Kids Alive International says there is a growing concern that the militant Sunni group could try to make a grab for Lebanon. “It’s surrounded by conflict–be it in Iraq, in Syria, or all around in Lebanon. It’s bound to impact the ministry and what Kids Alive is trying to do in Lebanon.” In fact, Lebanon’s Interior ministry confirms the presence of the militant Sunni group in Beirut.
According to a report from Al-Monitor, Lebanese armed forces beefed up their presence along the border and inside the country, and Hezbollah did the same along the Lebanese-Syrian border.
Speculating what potentially may or may not occur in the Middle East is not easy. One thing they can depend on, says Hamoud: “Those conflicts produce one thing: more displaced people, more kids at risk, more that become orphaned as a result of the conflict.” Any acts of violence and armed conflict by any group in Lebanon will seriously impact the ministry of Kids Alive.
Hamoud noted in a Skype conversation that “at the moment, we are blessed for each minute of stability we have in Lebanon.” However, tensions are high, and that produces a unique fatigue. “The staff gets stressed out. The burden is heavier than they can meet. Their hearts are big. They want to help every single child.”
Kids Alive staff are praying for continued stability, as shaky as it is, because it is better than the alternative. Right now, Hamoud says the bigger issue is: “How to be effective in reaching out to the increasing number of kids at risk and kids that are being orphaned. Lebanon has been reported by the United Nations as having 1.5 million Syrian refugees in the country, and that’s a country of under four million.”
Many of the refugee children have suffered emotional and physical trauma. Many of these displaced people have ended up in makeshift camps, with very limited access to shelter, food, water, shoes, and clothing. Their funds won’t stretch to meet all the needs. They need your help. “We have limited means to meet the large needs around us. So, the prayer is that the Lord will supply the needs, the Lord will give discernment to the teams and that the Lord will bring the neediest to our doorstep.”
“Right now we need to expand the space to have more classrooms, to have more teachers, to have more school supplies, those are all needs that we could use help with,” explains Hamoud. Kids Alive is helping Syrian refugees in two ways. They are providing an education, food, and daily care to children in their school and care center programs. They are also working with other partners in Lebanon to provide support to refugee families that urgently need help.
As well as a growing number of Syrians, there are also many Palestinian refugees in the country, along with other displaced people from Sudan, Iraq, and other places. The foundation of their programs, which are run in partnership with two other local organizations, is the desire to be share the love of Christ with these families and encourage them to come to know Him in their own lives.
That focus makes them a target to groups like IS. Hamoud says they need prayer support, too. “The deepest need is for safety, that no one out there will see us as a target because we are a Christian ministry. [Pray] that the Lord will keep the ministry safe.”