Local Missionaries in Lebanon
Politically and economically fractured, Lebanon’s religiously and ethnically mixed population has staggered from high unemployment and inflation, COVID-19, and the massive August 2020 chemical explosion in the port of Beirut. Amid this chaos and an influx of refugees from neighboring Syria, many people have turned to Christ.
Islam is the leading religion at more than 61 percent of the population, about evenly divided between Sunnis and Shiites. Christians amount to nearly 34 percent of the population. Among those identifying as Christians, Maronite Catholics are the largest group, followed by Greek Orthodox, and only 1 percent of the population is Protestant.
Arabic is the official national language while French can be used in legally prescribed instances. Nearly 40 percent of Lebanese people are considered francophone and another 15 percent “partial francophone,” while 70 percent of Lebanon’s secondary schools use French as a second language of instruction. English is increasingly used in business and science. About 5 percent of the population is Armenian and speak in their native tongue.
With the high cost of living getting higher every day, support for local missionaries is greatly needed. They are spreading word of eternal life in Christ in a variety of ways, with a remarkable number of saved souls especially in outreaches to children and refugees. Assistance to train Muslim-background leaders reaching refugees is needed. Newly believing refugees require discipleship training and gospel literature to be biblically grounded and to reach others with the gospel. Funding for Bibles, audio Bibles and the costs of rent and transportation is critical. One ministry seeks donations to continue bi-weekly Bible clubs that draw 600 children monthly; workers also reach youths in evangelistic sports camps, summer camps and other outreaches.
Besides working under difficult circumstances with scant resources, local missionaries are ministering to hurting people afflicted in many ways. Persecuted converts from Islam and other refugees need food, medicine and housing assistance. One ministry requests assistance to help 36 Christian families struggling to survive amid factory closings and mass unemployment.
Following governmental and economic collapse, local missionaries are providing health care at a medical clinic based in a native ministry community center. They are caring for increasing numbers of patients daily with medicines, physiotherapy, lab tests, spiritual counseling and other care. As workers provide a powerful demonstration of Christ’s love, they are reaching destitute families with the hope of the gospel.
Sources: Joshua Project, Wikipedia, CIA Factbook
How to Pray for
- Pray the Lord will provide resources for local missionaries and those they are serving to survive amid a ruined economy further afflicted by COVID-19.
- Pray that more youth leaders will be trained to meet the growing number of children wishing to participate in kids’ Bible clubs.
- Pray that Muslims putting their faith in Christ will be protected from violent hostility, and that those abandoned by family and friends will find new community in Christ.
More stories from Lebanon
The need for medical care is growing as living conditions deteriorate among both the vulnerable and those with higher incomes. Medicine prices have also skyrocketed after the government lifted subsidies on most drugs. A native ministry is helping to meet the need at its clinic at the church site and at its community center, serving about 100 to 120 patients weekly. Both Lebanese and Syrian refugees receive care. Workers also helped them survive winter with blankets, tarps, food and vouchers to acquire fuel for heaters.
Amid social, economic and political chaos, Lebanese nationals and refugees are putting their faith in Christ as local missionaries reach out to them. Distributing Bibles and gospel CDs and providing food and help finding work to the unemployed, workers also proclaimed Christ in home visits as they planted new home fellowships.
Invited to a native ministry’s Bible study in Lebanon by a Christian relative, an unbelieving man had arrived intent on criticizing it. The worker leading the meeting in Lebanon asked the visitor to read Psalm 91, but the man was stunned to find himself blinded to the words.
“I’m a university graduate, and I can’t read a single word,” he told the group. “Something is preventing me from opening my eyes. What is happening to me?”
When the government decided to remove and destroy tents occupied by Syrian refugees, the first night that families were suddenly without shelter, native Christian workers came to their aid. “It was during this very difficult time that we met their physical needs for food, prayed for them, helped them with transportation to visit the United Nations to petition for support, and helped as friends and advocates during a desperate time,” the leader said.
Native Christian workers went to disciple a woman who recently put her faith in Christ, and her twin daughters said they wanted to attend church services. “They said that they had seen the change that took place in their mother’s life, and that they would like to attend Bible study,” the ministry leader said.
As living conditions continue to deteriorate, impoverished families have even less access to health care, and a native ministry is seeing more patients. Christian workers offer health care to both Lebanese and refugees at a clinic on their church premises, serving 100 to 120 patients weekly, and their facility at a community center offers lab tests, fetal monitoring, physiotherapy for adults and children, a pharmacy and other care.