Lebanon (MNN) — Lebanon continues to suffer a severe financial crisis, and citizens have been protesting the new government, which has strong backing of Hezbollah from Iran.
Still, the new government won a confidence vote, sparking riots. Tom Atema of Heart For Lebanon says, “They found a Christian to run for prime minister, and he said yes. But he was appointed by Hezbollah. So, he’s really a Hezbollah person. Remember, when we talk about Christians in the Near East, we’re talking cultural Christians.”
The International Monetary Fund is in Lebanon ready to give money, but Hezbollah is unwilling to receive it. Atema says, “Iran wants people to be indebted to Hezbollah and Hezbollah to be indebted to Iran.”
Atema recalls a conversation he had with a higher ranking Lebanese official, who said, “’We’ve tried everything to fix our economy and our systems, to get rid of the corruption. We’ve done all this stuff and where we ended is it a deep, dark, black hole. And there’s no hope… but I’ve come to the conclusion that we’ve had hope all along. And that’s found in Jesus Christ.’”
Atema says Lebanon is at a crossroads. On one hand, they could falter even farther and become a failed state. “Or they’re going to become a state built on biblical principles and on Jesus Christ.”
Atema says we as Christians know that Jesus Christ is returning and will set everything right. But he says we should look at the current troubles as an opportunity to be Christ in Lebanon today.
“The door is wide open. All the protests now have the young people asking our staff, ‘What’s the answer to this? Why isn’t anybody doing anything? What is the answer?’ More opportunities than ever before to share the love of Jesus Christ, practically tangibly, vocally any way you want!”
“I’m 71,” Atema says. “I look back over my life, I’ve never seen a time where you can reach Muslims as openly and as willingly and as legally as you can at the moment.”
This is the moment
Atema says this is the moment to make a difference in Lebanon and the Middle East. He asks believers to pray for even five minutes that Heart For Lebanon would be able to reach Muslims for Christ.
“The second thing, that people need to understand,” Atema says, “is this is an opportunity to do something different in the Middle East that’s never been done before. A relational, unconditional, holistic ministry.” The ministry has started 2 churches, with an attendance of over 600 people.
Visit Heart For Lebanon’s website to learn about their ministry and pray as the Holy Spirit leads you.
Government palace in Lebanon. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)