Lebanon (MNN) – Last week, Lebanon declared a state of economic emergency. Upon first glance, this could be mistaken for a state of emergency, but a state of economic emergency, as Heart for Lebanon’s Tom Atema explains it, allows a government to implement economic emergency measures. Per the Associated Press, Lebanon has one of the highest public debts in the world. The country is hurting.
“Because of the Syrian refugee crisis, and the economic impact that’s having on the country, [Lebanon] has been on the verge of bankruptcy. And this is just one more step in that process. The Prime Minister, [a] couple [of] weeks back, was in the United States. He’s been all over asking the other nations to help them financially help take care of this crisis, and nobody is,” Atema says.
In other words, Lebanon is running out of money—fast. The country’s budget deficit is 11 percent of the gross domestic product. In 2020, Lebanon hopes to reduce the budget deficit to 6.5 percent. However, it is unclear what economic emergency measures will prevent bankruptcy. But one thing is certain: an increase in austerity measures.
The silver lining?
“When in great hardship, great persecution…there’s a there’s a wide-open door for the Gospel like never before. I don’t want to lose sight of that in all the negativ[ity] of this topic. Muslims are coming to Christ like never before, and reaping a tremendous harvest,” Atema explains.
Heart for Lebanon is in the process of opening its new Hope Ministry Center, which officially opens October 1. This center serves the refugee community in the Bekaa valley with Bible studies, informal education for the children, job training, and more. In being the hands and feet of Christ to people who fled their homes, Heart for Lebanon is also helping relieve some of the economic pressures the Syrian refugee crisis has placed on the Lebanese people.
Responding to Lebanon
Now that YOU know what is happening in Lebanon, will you respond?
Start with prayer. Pray for peace in the Middle East. Pray for the improvement of the economic crisis in Lebanon. But also pray for the Church there and its ability to reach people with the ultimate hope of Christ. Pray for Heart for Lebanon workers as they maneuver different personalities and political stances on the ground.
Another way to help is through giving. A financial gift to Heart for Lebanon provides food, education, and much more for refugees living in Lebanon. It also provides a natural bridge for relationships through which the Gospel and hope of Christ are shared.
To give, click here.
Finally, share this story. Raise awareness of what is happening in Lebanon and advocate on behalf of the local Church and the people who are in need.
Header photo courtesy of Heart for Lebanon