A Life Condemned to Darkness Finds Light
For five years Jana lived in depression as a refugee in Lebanon after shelling in Aleppo, Syria wiped out her entire community, destroying her home and killing relatives outside of her immediate family.
Jana and her husband had never lacked anything in the life that was shattered in Aleppo, but in Lebanon they struggled to keep their five children fed and clothed. They worked menial jobs that never paid enough to cover their rent, leaving the older children to care for the younger ones. Facing discrimination from Lebanese weary of the influx of refugees, the children were turned away from school.
When a friend brought Jana to a prayer meeting at a church established by native missionaries, it did not solve all her problems. But she did gain a new perspective when she gave her life to Christ.
“I used to suffer from depression, but the love and peace of Jesus in my heart and house healed me,” she said. “I wish I could stay at church day and night, because I feel peace when I am there. I want my family to get baptized soon.”
Facing discrimination from Lebanese weary of the influx of refugees, the children were turned away from school.
The native missionaries helping to meet her family’s needs say refugees continue to face massive problems finding decent and affordable housing.
“We often visit two-bedroom homes which house six people in each room, with all sharing a small bathroom and kitchen,” the ministry director said. “These children, who have undergone a traumatic resettlement, continue to feel unsafe and unsettled. Please pray the situation changes in Lebanon.”
The United Nations has stopped supporting many of the refugees in Lebanon, he said, with more than 40 percent of the families the native missionaries know having lost U.N. food support at the end of 2017.
“Life is especially difficult for widows,” the director said. “They are forced to go from one organization to the next to beg for food for their children, and they endure great humiliation in the cultural context they live in.”
The ministry has seen many Muslims come to faith in Christ and has discipleship groups tailored to help them know God and His care for them. When they finish 12 sessions they begin another program on commitment, perseverance and the meaning of being a disciple.
“Despite the misery the refugee communities go through, we still see joy in their eyes when we talk with them about the love of God, share the good news and read the Bible together,” the director said. “As they experience healing and freedom through Christ, they come to realize that they have value in the eyes of the Lord, that they are special, and that Jesus loves them endlessly.”
Such native ministries are providing compassionate aid to refugees throughout Lebanon. As shell-shocked refugees experience the love of Christ through food, clothing, shelter and other aid, their biases against Christians dissolve and their hearts soften to the gospel. Please consider a gift today to give them their first taste of the Lord’s goodness.