Life in lebanon:
The Civil war in Lebanon was devastating, costing thousands of lives and completely destroying the schools that Call of Hope had originally established. Despite this setback, COH's work in Lebanon continues today. In the middle of the Bekaa Valley, the Hezbollah stronghold on the Syrian border, national co-workers are reaching Muslims with the Gospel.
In Lebanon, the physically disabled and displaced refugees are two highly stigmatized groups. In September 2014, the UN recorded over one million registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Up to 8,000 refugees cross the border to Lebanon daily. Lebanon is overall a very poor country, unable to adequately help the refugees. Most have no proper shelter and live in handmade tents, sleeping on dirt floors, without food or sanitary facilities. Most Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in the bleak and cold Bekaa Plateau. They lack food, firewood, diesel heating fuel, mattresses, blankets, and medicine
Thousands more refugees and disabled persons in Lebanon remain unreached. Their greatest need is to hear the good news of Jesus and experience His love demonstrated. According to the Lord Jesus, “The King will answer, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me'” (Matthew 25:40).
- TOTAL POPULATION: 4,494,000
- 25 PEOPLE GROUPS
- 7 UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS
- 0.6 % EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN
- 57.3% MUSLIM
- UNREACHED POPULATION: 612,000
- OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: Arabic, Standard
ur Work in Lebanon:
In the Hezbollah area of Lebanon, COH operates a vocational skills training, medical care, and spiritual mentorship program for the disabled. COH also currently meets the needs of hundreds of Syrian refugees in Lebanon through food, supplies, and discipleship.
In the Hezbollah-controlled Bekaa Valley, COH offers a holistic program for the blind and physically disabled, providing Christian literature and Bible studies; mobility training; vocational training in cane work and computers; as well as medical assistance for more than 200 individuals with disabilities. In this conflict area on the border between Lebanon and Syria, many have lost their eyesight, legs, or hands from bombs and shrapnel. Almost all are from Muslim backgrounds. People from historically opposed Sunni, Shiite, and Druze Muslim backgrounds learn to work and worship the Lord Jesus Christ together. Their families hate and kill each other, but through the love of Christ they are empowered to love one other.
- More than 300 disabled former Hezbollah Muslims are cared for by COH's center.
- Up to 8,000 Syrian refugees daily cross the border into Lebanon. Many receive baby formula and food, diapers, firewood, diesel heating fuel, blankets, mattresses, and medicine from COH.
- For over a year, COH has served about 1,000 Muslim refugees each month.
- Thousands of evangelistic books and hundreds of Bibles were distributed.
- Dozens of refugees received Christ during recent months.
- Six Muslim-background believers were baptized despite threats against Christians.
- More than 350 Muslim refugee children and their parents received Christ as Lord and Savior during two recent outreaches. They also received milk, food, Bibles, and Christian books in Arabic.
Relief for Syrian refugees
Syria was once an epicenter of early Christianity, and the Syrian church, the oldest church outside the Holy Land. Syria’s famed Umayyad Mosque, one of the four holiest mosques in Islam, was once the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist.
In 634 AD, Muslim Arabs led by Khalid ibn al-Walid conquered Syria, and the Islamic empire annexed the region. In the mid-7th century, the Umayyad dynasty, then rulers of the empire, placed the capital of the empire in Damascus.
Most Muslims believe when Isa (Jesus) returns to earth, it will be to Damascus. Damascus is one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities. In this ancient city, it is possible to stroll down the same street called “Straight” once strolled by the Apostle Paul, surrounded by Roman column ruins. One can behold the same ancient stone perimeter wall over which Paul was lowered in a basket. Damascus is home to the glittering wares of Souk Al Hamidiya, Turkish baths, brilliantly colored and scented spice markets…and now, civil war.
Syria is in the throes of a bloody conflict: a polarized, armed standoff between pro-Assad forces, rebels, and now ISIS fighters is decimating the country leaving millions of civilians struggling to simply survive. In fact, several million Syrian refugees have fled the fighting, starvation and persecution for refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon.
Syria’s future is uncertain. What is certain is that Syrian refugees need immediate aid: food, medical care, blankets, and the hope that only faith in Christ can provide.
Center for the blind and disabled
In the Hezbollah-controlled Bekaa Valley, COH offers a holistic program for the blind and physically disabled. Here we offer Christian literature and Bible studies; mobility training, as well as vocational training for the disabled.
By sharing the Gospel and showing practical Christian love, COH reaches many Muslim families. Blind Muslims learn Braille using the Bible. A two-story facility was purchased where the blind and physically disabled meet for Bible studies and evangelistic outreaches. The ground floor was renovated to minister to the disabled. COH plans to expand this ministry, adding a small school for blind children and more meeting rooms on the second floor. A wheelchair lift will be installed. Christian literature, Bibles, medical assistance, and life skills training are provided.