Lebanon (MNN) — Lebanon, a country that is made up of around four million citizens and one million refugees from places like Syria and Palestine, includes a variety of different religions.
An estimated 67.6% are practicing Muslims and 32.4% are Christians. Druze, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus are also commonly practiced faiths.
However, most of these people live in silos: segregated communities that tend to care only for their own interests.
But at Heart For Lebanon, things are different.
Heart For Lebanon’s Camille Melki says the organization often gets asked why they care for everyone, not just their own people.
“You see, unfortunately, we think about religion and forget about faith,” Melki said. “And we have been so blessed to see many Lebanese Armenian Christians, Arab Christians, as well as Muslims who have come to participate in our worship gatherings and our Bible studies and our discipleship classes.”
Melki tells the story of one young man, Maroun, who was recently baptized.
He fought in the Civil War in Lebanon, a war which spanned from 1975 until 1990 and was born in an attempt to subdue lower classes of citizens.
In the war, Maroun lost one of his legs and became bitter and angry, seeing everyone as his enemy. It was clear to people around him that he was full of hate.
Eventually, Maroun came to a Bible study through Heart of Lebanon.
“(He came from a) need to feel that maybe, maybe someone loves me,” Melki said.
Melki said within a few times of meeting Maroun, he realized the man’s harsh character.
But a short while later, Maroun was baptized with a radiant smile on his face, having felt the love he sought out and experienced the even greater love of Jesus.
Melki recalls Maroun leaving the baptism with his one amputated leg, praising Jesus and declaring he had enemies on Earth no longer.
“(Instead) what he has friends that he wants to share the Gospel with,” Melki said.
Heart For Lebanon cares for more than 28,000 people like Maroun that need love and support as they start their faith journeys.
“You’re not only providing the physical care that is so important for their survival,” Melki said. “But you’re also providing us the opportunity to continue to love on them, care for them, but also remind them what is more important than anything else, is that not only we’re dealing with the physical poverty, but we’re dealing with the emotional and spiritual poverty.”
Header image courtesy of Heart for Lebanon.