Violence erupts again in Lebanon, ministry determined to stay

By May 14, 2008

Lebanon (MNN) — When violence broke out in Lebanon in 2006, the director of Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development, Nabil Costa (also a contact of Bible Pathway Ministries) was able to help. Now, unrest is plaguing the country again, and Costa says they're there to stay. Karen Hawkins of Bible Pathway Ministries has received updates and prayer requests
from Costa.

In one of his updates, Costa said that the Lebanese Army has called all parties involved in the violence to help restore calm and end armed protests by removing gunmen form the streets. 
However, while the pro-government and opposition groups have declared willingness to abide, the opposition holds that it will not end until the government responds to their requests. "Hezbollah has the big guns. When this legitimate government came together
a few years ago, all of the groups turned in their major weapons, and Hezbollah was allowed to keep large weapons because they were considered fighting against Israel. Now they are wanting to take over the entire country," said Hawkins. 

The violence is forcing families to flee to find more safe shelters, and travel has
become difficult for people. Costa had to take a very round-about trip to get back into Lebanon recently. The Beirut Baptist School in Lebanon, which is a part of the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development, had to close. Their other ministries have
been able to continue, however.

Hawkins said Costa and the ministries he oversees are praying that doors open for ministry just as they did in 2006. At that time, Christians were able to feed and clothe and serve Muslims who came seeking help. "It brought together Christians and Muslims who would never have come across each other's paths before. And in that situation, they began to understand each other. They began to reach out to each other. The Christians there were the hands and feet–the embodiment–of Christ," said Hawkins.

Costa shared with Hawkins in a prayer e-mail that the help of fellow Christians through this difficult time is critical. Hawkins said, "One of the things he's saying is: "Please tell the church in the West not to stop coming. We still want mission teams. We want vision teams. We need that kind of leadership and support.'"

"We can do battle in the heavenlies for them in our prayers and ask the Lord to empower them. And that's all he's asking for right now, really," Hawkins added.

To get in contact with people in Lebanon or help support the ministry there, go here.

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