Christmas 2018

Welcome to the Christmas 2018 Newsletter from the Life Center. The challenges there continue to grow as government and other international funding bodies reduce funding to refugees in Lebanon and redirect funds to restoration efforts in Syria. As a result the pressure on the church to help people with acute needs continues to grow. Without your help it simply wouldn't be possible to address these needs, but even now the needs far out way the ability of the team to meet them so please continue to pray for the team at the Life Center as they minister in this most difficult of situations.

 

Message from Pastor Said

 

Already it is Christmas

Greetings my friends. Yes it is that time again and everyone everywhere is getting busy, probably too busy. Please slow down for a minute and consider the wonder of the Jesus story. It is amazing, the Son of God born in a stable, coming from the Heavenly Father, to be made human for us.

What do you do for Christmas?

Everyone is different and every place is different and every year is not the same. As you make plans for Christmas this year it will probably be a mixture of old ideas and new ideas. Also a mixture of old people and new people, some things remain the same but others change. Here in the LifeCenter it is no different, some things have changed and also some people have changed. Some people have left us for a new life elsewhere others have arrived and have found a new life here with us. 

Wise Men Still Seek Him

I don't know what you have on your Christmas list this year but the Wise Men from the east brought gifts to a baby in a manger, but I think the top of their list was to see the baby born to be King. This gift is beyond price and available to all who genuinely seek Him. We are here to help people to find this Gift. When we give and receive gifts we are just reflecting the Gift of Jesus. We will be giving presents away this Christmas just to reflect the Love of Jesus to the people around us here in the Life Center.
Please help us give gifts this Christmas and pray for a genuine hunger for Faith.

 

Saying Goodbye

Walid & Claudia

 

One of the painful aspects of life at the Life Center is saying goodbye to people who have become much loved partners in the ministry as they move on to new lives in the West. It's hard to say goodbye, but there is consolation in knowing that the people who leave are sowing the seed of the Gospel in the lands where they settle.

Walid and Claudia and children Johnny and Hadia saying goodbye as they go to Belgium. Walid was the caretaker at the Life Center.

Avine

 

Avine who worked on reception with her family leaving for Canada 

 

 

 

 

God at Work

 

Here are a few stories highlighting the reality of life for the refugees at the Life Center:


 ‘I was afraid of Hell and blamed God asking why He made it so hard for people to get saved’. So says a lady who came to one of our weekly Al Massira courses. Then she had a dream: 'I have had a kidney problem for four years' she said, ' and then Jesus came and healed me. I thought He was just a prophet…’

She says because of attending the course her revelation of who Jesus really is grew and grew.

Al Massira means ‘The Journey’, and is a well proven course for presenting the Christian Faith to those from non-western backgrounds through a chronological overview of the Bible. As we build relationships with new people this twelve week series of studies help to bring real Faith to the new friends we have made.


Mariam, a lady from Syria had triplets here in Lebanon. She has recently become a Christian and has been coming to bible studies here in the LifeCenter. Recently we have been accompanying her to see if the UN will consider her case as suitable for asylum in the West.

We discovered that it might help if she was baptised as the UN would want proof that she was a Christian. This though raises two problems, firstly it means revealing her position to a Muslim interviewer in the UN who may be antagonistic and secondly it means there is a possibility of going forward to be baptised with the wrong motivation.

Anyway one night Jesus appeared to her in a dream and talked to her about something. The next day she came to the church visitor and asked what did Jesus mean by ‘Baptism’. Without anyone being involved Jesus called her to be baptised by speaking direct into her life in a dream.


(Maha) A lady from Syria, has 6 children and has been in Lebanon for 5 years (since 2013). The family came to Lebanon because of the suffering their community in Syria suffered at the hands of the Daesh (ISIS). Their suffering is hard to imagine not only were they bombed from the air but they were forced to watch as some of their children, youth and old people had their throats cut.

Before the war life was good for them and they had no need for anything but they left it all and now in Lebanon they are suffering deprivation. The expression we hear and it is often used, is that they are in a ‘Bad Situation’, this means that they have no resources to meet their needs, they need money for food and rent, medicines, education and clothes every month, and they either have no work or so low paid they can barely find enough for food. This is what they mean when they say ‘Bad Situation’.

This lady recently was pregnant with triplets, but at 7 months one died in the womb, she had to carry on until the they were all delivered and then to add more pain one of the living girls has a club foot and also a blocked anus and a duplicate ureter. The baby has had a hole made in the side for the anus but needs an operation probably several operations but there is no money to pay for this. Made worse because the father is sick and cannot work.

The mother has been coming to the bible studies we hold for people interested in Jesus and we have been helping her during the pregnancy. She says she appreciates the practical support but especially the love shown by the Christians. The Father has recently been discussing Jesus and the church with visitors from the Church. We feel that Jesus is working here in this family.

The options here are difficult it may be possible to get free treatment back in Syria but that is quite risky on a number of fronts, the father probably would be arrested for absconding from the army, or some other reason and of course there is a risk of someone finding out about their involvement with a church. Our hope is to persuade the UN to help but they will only provide at best 70% of the funds so we will need some significant cash.

STOP PRESS: Praise God that the UN have agreed to pay 70% of the hospital fees and donations from supporters have covered the rest!

SOL+

Beirut Marathon

  

SOL Plus is the name of the programme to support some of the older children in Spring of Life (SOL) with their secondary education or vocational training courses. Being sponsored by SOL gives them support from the staff of SOL as counsellors and advocates with their school. Some of the young people may have no help from their parents.


The new term has started and we have a group of 20 older kids from the Spring Of Life program who are attending training courses. They need a total of $14,000 to meet the fees for the coming year. 

At this point we need to thank Phil, Hattie, Tyler, Naomi and Beth for running in the Beirut Marathon to raise funds for SOL+, and of course all of you who supported them. Thank you!

 

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