Welcome to our Autumn newsletter and all the latest news from the Life Center and Spring of Life. It's been a very busy summer at the Life Center with an extensive summer programme for the children in Spring of Life, the Life Leadership Institute and ongoing support for Syrian refugees. Please read the story of baby Noor for a flavour of the realities of life for the refugees in Beirut.
|Spring of Life|
The Spring of Life Center for Underprivileged Children kicked off the summer with its inaugural summer learning program thanks to a partnership with World Vision that has helped it expand its remedial education program to cover the summer, expanding the reach to 240 children and also includes a daily meal.
This summer, the children got to participate in fun games, crafts and activities in addition to spending time working on their maths and their reading and writing in both Arabic and a second language. They attend daily chapel and also get to benefit from life skills sessions taught by a social worker.
The SOL program is open to all nationalities, though 96% are Syrian refugees. This programme is critical to help children who are enrolled in official schools but are at risk for failing. The students may have been struggling with failing grades or may not even be able to read and write, sometimes despite being given passing grades.
Many of the children have been out of school for years due to the conflict or are attending a "Syrian Curriculum" program that is very condensed and does not afford the children enough learning opportunities that would set them up for success.
|The SOL Fundraising Dinner in June brought the community together to celebrate the completed school year and helped rejuvenate local supporters and sponsors. The SOL children performed some amazing songs and danced for the appreciative audience. There was a special focus on finding support for the SOL+ Students, the sponsorship program that helps teenagers continue their education in a technical school. Not only did they help serve the event, but also shared a special video with a few testimonies from the programme.|
|Click here to watch SOL+ Student testimonies|
|Life Leadership Institute|
We are pleased to announce that the LLI students have completed their final module of the inaugural year this summer. There were 17 graduates from the discipleship course and 48 people who attended on a regular basis working toward their graduation certificate. For the leadership there were 33 regular students with 15 ready to graduate in 2-3 more months.
The LLI is a key program at the Life Center as they look to make disciples of all nations and see people grow in their faith. The students are new believers (most are converts from another faith). The students in the leadership class are from local churches. The students attend a week of classes once per month. The classes are taught by visiting pastors and teachers from around the globe that have partnered with the Life Center for a 3-year commitment.
There are still opportunities available for partnership if this may be the right opportunity for you! Sponsoring 1 week a year would cost $1,500 (roughly £1,100) plus accommodation, meals, travel. Please get in touch if you think this is something you or your church would like to support.
|SUMMER Camp 2017 just completed in August for 50+ youth from the Life Center. They spent 5 days camping in the Lebanese mountains for a time of fellowship, preaching, teaching, good food and fun!
Pastor Said says, "I cannot say enough about this amazing group of young people. We are raising up a group that will make a difference wherever they go, whether Europe, Lebanon or Syria!"
|Noora meets Noor|
|Noor was just born last week. Her mother (not pictured) is a Syrian refugee who came to the Life Center in a dire situation. Her first husband long ago abandoned her and kept her 4 children. She married again to a very abusive man and gave birth to 3 more children. Her second husband married another woman and, as frequently happens, discarded her just as her first had done. This time while she was pregnant with Noor. He tied her up and gave his friends permission to rape her and then left her, taking the children with him. Beaten and raped, she passed out. When she came to, neighbours heard her cries for help and rescued her.
This is a story that plays out time and time again in Lebanon and there are few safe houses to help battered and abused women. The ones that exist are overcrowded and in extremely poor condition. Some would say that a prison would be better. After some time at a safe house in the Beqaa, she ended up 7 months pregnant, sleeping on the streets of Beirut. This was when the team at the Life Center found her. They helped her find a place and gave her a mattress. She had been sleeping on the hard ground for months. Her new home was a porch balcony covered with curtains for privacy and protection from the sun, but now that she has given birth she must move out. She still needs £300 a month for permanent housing. That is the cheapest option out there.
While the UN is helping cover 75% of the cost of giving birth, the church must still pay the 25% for the C-Section (£400). Now they have a mother and an infant that needs housing, food, care and basic necessities such as baby clothes and nappies. She has absolutely no way to provide for herself. The church has taken her under their wing and become her family. The refugees in the church have been emptying their pockets to try to serve and support this mother.
Baby Noor is just one of 5 newborn infants that have arrived in the church in the past month. Each with their own story and desperate need for help. Baby milk costs £35 per month. Nappies are £6 a box.