Entries in Lebanon (13)
"Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the desert."-- Nehemiah 9:19
The book of Nehemiah tells the story of a man of considerable leadership faced with a daunting task: rebuilding the walls, and consequently, the heart of Jerusalem.
We face a similar task when we sponsor a child from Jordan or Lebanon. And just like Nehemiah, we need to be wise and sensitive to both the task at hand and the people we are working with because just as in Nehemiah's time, there are people who oppose the work in progress.
Many laws in Jordan and Lebanon prohibit overtly Christian work -- especially evangelism -- yet God has opened doors for our ministries to continue working in areas that desperately need love and support. And so we continue to serve the children, meeting their physical needs and praying to provide for their spiritual ones.
This honor and responsibility is not something we take lightly. Program workers creatively share their faith and love on these children in tangible and powerful ways. Outside of the school or center's environment, our programs put together summer activities and camps where they can continue to minister to the children.
Yet in the current political climate, any organization with international ties is subject to scrutiny. In response, we operate in a sensitive, careful way to protect the work we feel God has given us for the sake of His children.
We don't live in a culture with such consequences for faith. We rightly see sponsorship as a ministry. And because we are spurred on by the Great Commission and accustomed to our freedom of expression, we often seek to proclaim Christ with our sponsored child in explicit ways: sharing the gospel in our letters, writing out Bible verses for our child, declaring Jesus' great love.
These are not bad things but they are dangerous for our workers and ministry there. We cannot send letters with explicitly Christian content to these areas. The heart behind the words is beyond honorable, but the risk is too great: parents may withdraw their children, and schools already closely monitored will be shut down, effectively ending a ministry for all of the children in that community.
When faced with threats and intimidation, Nehemiah had but one effective weapon: prayer. In Nehemiah 4:9, we read that the people prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
Please help us guard against the threats to our work. Do not include Bible verses or references to Jesus Christ in your letters. It may seem counterintuitive, but references to Christianity or the gospel puts this life-changing ministry in danger. Stickers or cards with Bible verses or Christian symbols cannot be sent on.
Although these restrictions may be frustrating, please continue to write to your child. This region is rife with turmoil and hardship. Your letters are an invaluable source of stability and encouragement. Tell your sponsored child that you are proud of them. That you care for them. Ask about their daily lives.
Be assured that your sponsored child is learning about Jesus from people who love them and live out the faith before them. Our staff members are modern day Nehemiahs, burdened for these people yet savvy in this perilous environment. And like Nehemiah, they need to know that they have allies and partners in this great yet subtle work.
As sponsors of children in these countries, we need your help to further our ministry among children there. Thank you for your faithful prayers and support. Your commitment is helping us build into the children of this storied region.
So much is happening all over the world -- here's how you can join us in prayer for our projects and the areas we serve.
PRAISE: Confounding all storm path projects, Tropical Cyclone Irina HAS TURNED AND HEADED OUT TO SEA! We had asked for prayer late last week as initially Irina looked to hit our projects in Swaziland and Mozambique.
To our amazement and, frankly, God’s glory, the storm is no longer a major threat. This is fantastic news because it is harvest season in this region, and the heavy wind and rains from this type of storm could devastate a much-needed maize harvest.
Current forecasts show that Irina is weakening as it spins over the colder waters of the south Indian Ocean. We are praying that Irina continues to weaken and stays far, far away from our children and projects in southern Africa.
TRIP PRAYER: A women’s mission trip to Cambodia leaves on Thursday, March 8. This diverse team of 40 women will serve Mission of Mercy’s Mechrey Floating School as well as the projects in the Siem Reap area. We are praying for safe travels, and that all of their supplies arrive safely in country!
PROVISION PRAYER: We’re also praying for our projects in Lebanon, as more and more refugees flee the violence in Syria. One of our projects is especially close to the Syrian border, but many of our programs serve the refugee population in other areas of Lebanon.
As the influx of exiles grows, so too does the strain on infrastructure, increasing the chances that refugees will face discrimination from established families already struggling to get by. In addition to praying for a quick resolution to the violence in Syria, we are praying that the fleeing families are finding sanctuary, and that those receiving them are able to provide help to them.
Your sponsored child may live halfway around the world, but you have more in common than you think in terms of Christmas traditions... especially food! We even included some recipes if you'd like to try something different this year!
While some of our projects are located in rural areas, we also work with children who live in cities. Our projects in the Middle East reveal the rigors of urban living for the working poor. What does your sponsored child's home look like?
Water affects so much of your child's life -- is there enough to wash up before school? Is it safe to drink? Can I go out and play? What season is your sponsored child experiencing right now, and what does that mean for daily life?
Our country staff in Lebanon are asking for your prayers as political instability continues to roil both countries.
In Lebanon, the parliament selected a new prime minister yesterday, just a week after the national-unity government collapsed when a third of the cabinet resigned. Tensions continue to run high in Lebanon, and the task of forming a new government will not be easy in this religiously fractured country. Our staff in Lebanon ask for continued prayers that violence does not errupt, and that God will "provide the Christian believers with the courage and conviction to stay" in Lebanon.
We will continue to update you as we have more information. And if your sponsored child is affected in any way, we will contact you. Thank you for praying with us!
Earlier this week, the government of Lebanon collapsed after a third of its cabinet resigned due to a dispute with other factions and an investigation into the assassination of a former prime minister in 2005.
Tense negotiations about the formation of a new government are beginning. Because the government is required to represent the 18 recognized religious groups in Lebanon, and because within each religion there are rival sects, this situation is not expected to resolve quickly.
Our projects in Lebanon have not been affected by this political crisis as of yet, but it is a situation we are monitoring closely. Our staff in Lebanon tell us that they are accustomed to the political tension and turmoil, but they ask for your prayers:
We need you to pray for stability and that violence does not erupt. Moreover, whenever such a situation occurs, many Lebanese people start to emigrate and leave the country, so we would appreciate it if you would pray that God provide the Christian believers with the courage and conviction to stay and remain a much-needed source of light, Truth, and love in this land torn by hate.
Please join us in praying for these requests from our staff in Lebanon.
The goal of any Mission of Mercy program is to equip children in developing nations to reach their God-given potential. So how does that work in our schools?
If you sponsor a child, especially a boy, odds are you’ve read that his favorite sport is football. Is that the same as soccer? Why do we call it soccer, anyway?