Why do you love us?

“I’ve lost track of how many times I have been asked ‘why do you love us?’” the administrator of our Syrian education center shared.  She continued to explain how multiple times a week, students, parents, teachers, or other Syrian refugees she visits while handing out small gifts of aid all are surprised to see her love for them.  What an opportunity to express the love of Christ!  Truly, the love of Christ is compelling the believers in North Lebanon.  And in a way that the Lord receives the glory!  Syrians know that there is no reason for Lebanese to love them, especially when they have such different religious beliefs.  But God is bigger and God is greater than these stereotypes and cultural walls.  He is using the war in Syria for good.  God is allowing Syrians to hear the gospel, and the amazing part is they are not just hearing the gospel, but watching it be lived out by those who they least expected to care for them!  What greater testimony is there to the love of Christ?                                                  

None of us deserve to be loved by God.  Even though we are all sinners God loves us unconditionally.  But loving us unconditionally and proclaiming His love to us from the heavens was not enough.  God became flesh to dwell among us and live incarnationally among us.  He came to us in the midst of our broken, ugly, hurting world; He brought peace, healed the sick, and restored our relationship with our Creator. 

Praise God with us for the opportunity to share life with some of these families for several years and some for maybe only one visit.  Pray that we would continue to let the love of Christ compel us to love people who are sometimes difficult to love.  Pray that the Holy Spirit would continue to reveal Himself to these students, parents, teachers, and other Syrians so that they may come to saving faith in Christ alone.  May they be overcome by the love of Christ in ways that would not only affect the future of Syria, but the whole world.

Syrian Education Center and Medical Clinic Update

So far in 2015, we have completed one semester in our “I am a New Creation” Syrian Education Center and just began the second semester last week.  We praise God for the opportunity to invest in the lives of 120 Syrian children and their families.  From kindergarten through fifth grade these students are taught Arabic, French, English, Math, and Science from Syrian teachers who are also refugees.  Each week the children are taught lessons from the Bible.  In the last year and a half that the school has been operating we are seeing students and teachers transformed as they discover Jesus.  We visit the families of our students and offer to study the Bible with them as well.  We thank God for the way we have watched Him provide for the physical needs of these families.  From the sacrificial gifts of our partners, we have been able to not only provide several meals a week for the students at the school, but food packages to their families, as well as medicines, blankets, and clothes as needed. 

In May, we partnered with an American church to provide a free medical clinic and medicine to Syrians and Lebanese in need.  We saw 530 patients in 5 days.  We are thankful to serve in Lebanon where we have the freedom to offer to pray for each patient and distribute the Bible.  Most patients heard a Gospel presentation as well.  This clinic provided many follow-up opportunities for our team. 

The most memorable patient at the clinic was an 11 year-old Lebanese boy.  After being seen by a doctor, he asked the American pharmacist, “What is the difference between the Old Testament and the Quran?” Immediately, one of our ministry team stopped and sat down with the boy to answer his questions and share with him.  At the end of their talk, the boy prayed to receive Christ and took a Bible.  The next morning, the boy’s father, who had been at the clinic with the boy, called the national ministry director.  “My son was reading the Bible to us last night, but we still have several questions, can you help us understand?” inviting him to visit.  When he visited the family, he discovered that the boy’s parents were illiterate, so each night the boy would read a passage to his parents and younger siblings.  Our ministry director was not only able to answer their questions, but taught them how to read the Bible in a way that they can discover its Truth and apply it to their lives, while challenging them to invite others to study the Bible with them.  Praise God for the faith of a young boy!

This is only a short account of how we have seen God at work recently.  We invite you to continue to pray for North Lebanon and Lives of Salt and Light as we reach out to Syrians and Lebanese with the Truth of the Gospel in love.  No doubt, you have seen many scary headlines in the news from this part of the world; North Lebanon is not exempt from danger. Some areas where we serve are experiencing very real persecution.  We are learning to be wise in our goings and comings; we trust the Lord and are not backing down now from the task He has called us to.  The harvest is crying out, and we have no greater joy than to watch as the Lord reconciles people to Himself.