Lebanon (MNN) — President Michel Aoun is once again calling for the transition of Syrian refugees from Lebanon’s over-crowded streets to their war-torn homeland.
“Lebanon seeks to secure a dignified and safe return of the displaced to their homes and rejects any stalling in this regard,” Aoun said earlier this week, adding that Lebanon “refuses to link [the return] to a long-standing political solution.”
The small Middle Eastern nation holds approximately 1.5 million Syrian refugees. Over half of them are less than 18 years old.
Christ-followers are making yet another investment in this vulnerable population. Heart for Lebanon’s Tom Atema says their staff and church partners currently share Christ’s love with Syrian refugees at three ministry centers.
In the coming months, a new building will expand their reach.
“This building, to God be the glory, is 80-percent complete,” reports Atema. “On September 22nd, we will have a day of prayer and dedication of the ground floor. That’s a year-and-a-half ahead of schedule!”
Building hope in Bekaa Valley
Heart for Lebanon is committed to transforming the lives of Syrian refugees through physical, relational, and spiritual ministry. Everything they do revolves around a desire to introduce people to Christ.
Hope Ministry Center – Bekaa is no exception.
“We’re not in the ministry of building buildings,” Atema clarifies.
“We’re in the ministry of helping people find Christ as their Savior. In order to do that effectively, we need a building.”
Right now, Heart for Lebanon leases space from local churches for their ministry work. When completed, the new 54,000 square foot ministry center will relieve that financial burden and create new ministry opportunities.
For example, the early completion of the center’s ground floor means it can soon be used by a quickly-growing group of refugee believers. “We have 455 [people] on average each week at our Bible study programs,” shares Atema.
“God is doing marvelous things in the lives of the refugee population. Our Lord has truly transformed a desperate situation into one of Hope in Him.”
Located approximately 15 miles from the Syrian border, Hope Ministry Center – Bekaa will house humanitarian aid distribution, a 500-seat chapel, training center, and cafeteria on its main floor. The second floor is entirely dedicated to education with eight classrooms, a library, computer lab, and conference room.
Atema says visiting mission teams will stay in dormitory-style rooms on the center’s top floor.
Help share Christ’s love with Syrian refugees
The ministry’s staff and leaders praise God for the incredible amount of progress they’ve made with Hope Ministry Center – Bekaa. Atema says they still need $1.7 million to finish the rest of the work. Give towards this project on Heart For Lebanon’s website.
More important than giving, adds Atema, are your continued prayers.
“Our mission at heart for Lebanon is to make disciples, and that starts with evangelism,” he says.
“The contractors on our building are all unsaved…and our prayer request would be, as we finish this building, that we’d have greater opportunities to share Jesus Christ with the construction workers.”
Please ask the Lord to protect Heart for Lebanon workers in Lebanon.
“We’re working close to Hezbollah, we’re working close to ISIS, and we just pray for protection.”