“I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”
These very well known verses from Romans described the motivation and the passion that motivated me to take such a dangerous ministry trip to Lebanon and in particular the Syrian refugee camps. I am obligated to preach the gospel to all the people and especially the Muslims of the world. The tug-of-war rages within my heart as I see the barbaric acts that Islamic jihad is engage in all parts of the world and especially in the Middle East at the present. However, I am eager to reach them with the gospel and the love of Christ because I have witnessed the miraculous transformation of the power of God that brought salvation to many who believed.
The decision to go at this particular dangerous time was reached after months of prayer and confirmation from my family, my church family, and my extended family of believers around the United States and the world. My small congregation supported me in prayer and gave generously around $6000 to help the Syrian refugees directly through me. The Milton seventh Day Baptist church gave $1000 to partner with me and the church in reaching out in Lebanon. The expenses of travel and transportation all over Lebanon which amounted to $2500 was given by Hayat and me as a donation to the ministry of I hope.
I spent the first three days in Lebanon driving to several refugee camps in northern Lebanon close to the Syrian border, camps in the southern part of Lebanon by Sidon and Tyre, and in the Bekaah Valley by Baalbeck. After prayer and consultation with my fellow believers in Lebanon, we chose three smaller camps that were home to approximately 2000 refugees to concentrate our relief efforts to them. The main criteria for our choice was the fact that these camps were accessible and in a relatively safe area of Lebanon. We also were able to talk to main leaders in these camps to assess the needs and seek permission to bring the necessary help to them. The fourth and the fifth day in Lebanon were spent in purchasing bread, powdered milk, drinking water, and blankets. The blankets were the only items that we needed to transport from Beirut. My cousin who owned a pickup truck helped me in taking the blankets to the camps.
I spent Friday evening and Sabbath morning in a wonderful fellowship with our groups in Beirut and in northern Lebanon. I preached, taught a Bible study and spend time praying with the believers. This was a very meaningful and encouraging time that lifted our spirits in worship and praise to our Savior. In the following three days, we went to do camps and distributed the food and blankets; we were so thankful to have a safe and great opportunity to share with the refugees. On the third day, we were in the Bekaa Valley when gunfire erupted while the ministry was going on. Everybody panic and were running to escape. My cousin and I found ourselves in the midst of a stampede to get out of the camp. I fell injuring my knee and spraining my ankle as we were running for our lives. I lost the camera but God protected us and we were out safe. We discovered on the evening news that the fight was started by the neighboring villages over the accusation that one of the Syrian refugees raped a retarded boy from the village.
I was able to continue the ministry by visiting an orphanage and a hospital that helped children of refugees that were very sick. A financial cash assistance of $1500 was divided between the orphanage and the hospital. On the last two days of the mission to Lebanon, I spent in visiting and reaching out to Muslims. My friend from Tyre who is my dear Christian brother now took me to visit several people who were open and seeking to know more about Christ. This was a very rewarding time as I witnessed the courage of Hussein in sharing Christ and the hunger that some had to hear and ask questions about our Christian faith.
The mission in Lebanon strengthened my faith, at times brought me to tears and showed me the opportunity that we had to share the love of God with these wonderful helpless and lost people. My thanks go to all the ministry partners that made this mission possible and successful through their prayers and financial support. I seek continued prayers as the ministry in Lebanon is not over but the doors of hope are wide open in sharing the good news of the gospel. Assistance to the refugees is going on through IHope ministry. Praise God,
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