Christmas 2019

It's Christmas again, but this year the challenges of ministry are amplified by the revolution which has gripped Lebanon. On October 17th a series of protests against corruption and the ruling elite began and have been ongoing evere since. These have been devastating with the financial system in lock down people aren't being paid and don't have money to feed their familes. At the best of times life is precarious for the poorest in society, but this Christmas the Life Center finds itself at the centre of a storm.

Message from Pastor Said

We thank God for the ministry with both the Lebanese & Syrian refugees he has entrusted us with here at the Life Center Beirut and for every individual, church, and organization that supports or partner with us to save the lives of many to fulfill the Great Commission. Every day the Lord surprises us by adding to the number of those joining the faith. We’ve reached a point that we can’t help feeding and nurture everyone by ourselves. Sometimes we feel embarrassed in front of those such as a widow with six starving children, and others with no resources at all. We are not talking about strangers. We are talking about those who have become brothers and sisters in Christ and attend the church services and disciple groups.

We have been able to help 70+ families with food for the last two months. However, on the other side are many committed families waiting in hope for their turn for some assistance with something to eat.

As the church outreach teams visit these families, they become stressed out and overwhelmed with what they see and hear. Some families have no bread to eat, others don’t have diapers or milk for their babies. Others haven’t eaten in days. For some, there is no electricity, no gas to cook, not even water. There are families with twin and triplets with no assistance at all. For many, if the church didn’t support them, they tell us they’d be dead.

Things go from bad to worse as the economy collapses dramatically. In November, we encountered a woman who fled Syria seven months ago with five children under the age of 13 along with her sick mother. Her husband left her and the children during the war and she hasn’t heard from him since. She is in Lebanon illegally. Her 13-year old son has to work to pay the $200 rent per month. It wasn’t enough to survive though. She couldn’t afford food or medicine for her dying mother and her mother passed away in her arms. While visiting them, the Life Center team realized they didn’t have any food, not even bread and they hadn’t eaten in two days. We cannot express their surprise and joy on her face and the face of her starving children when we gave them a box of food.

Activities

Summer has passed and we are now in winter with its heavy rain and cold weather. Young adults and children enjoyed the opportunity to experience summer with our teachers and volunteers. We had our annual summer program for the kids of “Spring of Life.” So please read on to hear about another busy year at the Life Center...

Eagles in Christ
Eagles in Christ
 The young adults “Eagles in Christ” had their annual camp full of new experiences and activities in a beautiful location called “Don Bosco” in Byblos- Lebanon. This year was special because of the presence of a Danish group of volunteers who supported the camp through their financial and moral support.  The Eagles in Christ also helped put together a program among the refugee camps in the Beqaa for children living in the area. This program included games, skits, songs all with a gospel message.

You can see a small video of the dinner by clicking here 

Spring of Life

The annual summer program for the kids of Spring of Life included an outing to a pool where all the kids had a special meal and enjoyed many water games. It's hard to believe that it was their first experience at the pool for a number of them. Another program offered to the kids this year was a day camp in cooperation with the Bible Society. This particular camp had activities designed to help children deal with trauma and process their experiences.

Childcare Ministry

This year a daily Childcare Ministry for 0 – 7 years has been started in the form of a Playgroup or Kindergarten to cover the times mothers are in Bible Studies or small groups or meetings. This has given an opportunity for the team to use their care and expertise to encourage these children in learning as well as giving them a fun time at church.

The ministry operates every morning, and 2 afternoons a week, as well as three evening meetings. These meetings are flourishing as adults are not disturbed by children and mothers are confident that their kids are well taken care of.

There is real need in Borj Hammoud for provision of a good pre-school, for children who get little or no stimulation from their home environment. Many homes have few toys and very little space. And for some children this is the only education they get as there are still not enough school places. Fortunately, one of the ladies is a trained teacher from Syria and she helps us keep the lovely kids in order!

Could you support the team in providing this care? We need to bless the 6 Syrian refugee ladies who run this ministry, and we need to carry on for the sake of the 90 plus children who have come through the program these last 6 months. We need $500 (~£375) per month for the ladies and to buy some new toys. If you could help in any way, we would all be very happy and so would the six families whom you would be supporting!

Life Leadership Institute

The spiritual aim of the Life Center is to help believers grow deeper in faith and become leaders who change lives. That is the reason why Life Center is focused on their discipleship and leadership programs. To help deliver and fund this we are looking for partner churches on a global basis.

The September 2019 LLI with Pastor Julie Hatabaugh had an average of 50 disciples and 25 leaders and a talk about relationship with God.

October 2019 LLI with Pastor Peter Hasler had an average of 60 disciples and 25 leaders and a talk about how we exist to glorify God by making disciples of all people through Gospel truth and Gospel living.

November LLi week was only designed for pastors and Leaders, more than 40 participants per night, Pastor Steve Elmes and Steve Hall from Bookham Baptist Church (BBC) did a great job.

Small groups for all the LLI disciples are still going on on weekly basis. The lord has blessed the team with two Egyptian ministers to help with small groups and making disciples or mentoring one-on-one. They are also conducting a daily worship prayer and intercession time in a prayer room that has been built next to the welcome gate at the Life Center. What a blessing!

Rev Julie Hattabaugh

Rev. Julie Hattabaugh LLI discipleship Module 1/ Year 4/2019

Dr Peter Hassler

Outreach event & prayer meeting for Syria with Rev. Peter Hasler.

Lebanon Revolution

Lebanon is in the midst of a revolution. A series of protests that commenced on the 17th of October and remain ongoing. People from across Lebanon have banded together in the country’s public spaces to protest the country’s financial crisis and political elite. The huge gatherings of Muslim and Christian people have jolted the country’s political establishment.

Demonstrations

Lebanon’s banks have been frequently closed, sometimes for weeks on end, fearing financial collapse. They have imposed tight restrictions on withdrawals, making it difficult for employers to even pay their staff. It is difficult to access cash to even pay bills. Additionally, while people may have their savings in dollars, they are only allowing withdrawals in the Lebanese Lira. This provides its own set of issues as the economic situation continues to deteriorate. One of the major problems with the lack of dollars circulating in the country is that the importers cannot pay their suppliers. That means that basic goods needed for survival are not entering into the country. There is quickly becoming a food shortage as well as a gasoline shortage.

The financial situation for the Lebanese citizen isn’t better than the situation of the refugees at all. The economic forecast for Lebanon, with or without the revolution is very dire. The revolution didn’t cause the economic turmoil, rather it was born out of it. However, the instability has certainly hastened the inevitable economic collapse. There are exceedingly tough times ahead for the nation. As goods become scarcer, access to finances more difficult, unemployment skyrocketing, people will become more and more desperate. There are suicides every week as people lose hope and see no way to support their family.

For the Life Center, these economic challenges have led to the canceling of the normal fundraisers that help support the school and the other Life Center programs. There is no marathon, no Christmas dinner fundraisers. All support in the country has dried up as funds become more and more scarce.

The team need the prayers, wisdom, guidance, support from all their supporters more than ever before.

Prayer Needs

Christmas is here and more than 70 families at the Life Center are facing hunger, cold, and despair.The team would love to be able to offer them a hot meal on Christmas, a small gift a toy for their children, just to let them know that God loves them unconditionally, and they can receive the free gift of eternal life through Jesus our lord and born king. By faith many events around christmas & New Year Eves have been planned for the children, youth, adults and elderly.

Life Center

The Life Center building is strategically placed at the center of the most needy people of Lebanon, - not just refugees but the underprivileged and downtrodden of every sort.

As you can see the team are busy but there is so much more to be done, They are developing a team of workers to do home visits and get involved in helping the people around, including small groups based around Bible Studies. Alongside this they have a small team of mothers who are providing a playgroup for people who attend meetings in the building. Please pray for the team and these initiatives.

Spring of Life carries on 12 months of the year providing education to the children of the community, who have so few opportunities, is vital for their future. Please pray for the future of these vulnerable children.

The building itself continually needs maintenance. Major works on the drains was recently required and more work is required on the roof, the hostel facilities and the general decor of the centre. Please pray the required funds will be found for this essential work.

Food Boxes

Distributing food boxes is something the team love to do when they can get them. They go to families in Bourj Hammoud and also to our outreach in the Bekaa valley.

Please pray for the provision of more of the essential aids to the refugee families.

If you would like to contribute to any of the needs you have read about please visit the Donations Page. Any gifts wll make a real difference.

Hayat Ministries News

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