News and Articles
17 March 2017
A group from Above Bar Church and Tearfund will be travelling to Lebanon this summer. They will visit a number of ministries following our Christmas appeal for Heart for Lebanon.
This team will include David Bloomfield (Tearfund), Helen Clark, Alison Risbridger, John Risbridger, Ruth Spradbery, Bryan Stonehouse, and Rebekka Webber. They will encourage the workers and meet some of the 3,000 (plus) refugees supported by Heart for Lebanon. They will listen and learn from their experiences of escaping from intense conflict and danger. They will see the impact of their humanitarian and gospel work, the teaching programme in their schools they opened, and ideas which could be applied to reach people in Southampton.
Where are the refugees from?
Syria Civil War: thousands of displaced people have been fleeing from Syria since civil war broke out in 2011. Horrific scenes of terrified people escaping from bombed-out buildings in Aleppo have filled our TV screens. Cramming a few things into a bag, these people can carry only pots, pans, and essential documents – if time allows. They’re so frightened that they still cannot find lost children in the crowd.
Iraq: as military operations began to retake Mosul in October last year, more than 144,500 people escaped in desperate need to save their children, mothers, fathers, wives – but where can they run to find safety? They are grieving the loss of close members of their family, not knowing where some of the children have gone, traumatised. How many friends have died? They have many thoughts and constant questions, but no answers. They must travel and get away as far as possible from war, conflict, political strife, and gross inhumanity. Hope gone, they make effort to leave the country and become displaced persons heading for Lebanon.
Lebanon in the Middle East, a land of 4,000 square miles, with Mediterranean Sea on its western coast. Lebanon is safe and can be reached in many ways, by sea or land walking to the Bekaa Valley. Bordered by Syria to the North and East, with Israel to the South, it clearly is the nearest place for them to run.
Their journey isn’t over
Refugees are distressed with the emotional pain of losing loved ones, of having little hope of going home – or of things getting better. Each family has very little in the way of personal possessions or comforts. Syrians in Lebanon are considered ‘Temporarily Displaced People’ (TDP) which means they have no refugee status – no legal or human rights. There are no refugee camps set up by the UN in Lebanon because of political issues.
They live in ‘tent settlements’ — run-down apartments — with upwards of 14 people, with no access to clean water. There is no heat in the winter and no screens in the summer. Food and hygiene items – the basic essentials for daily healthy living – are almost impossible to find.
Help on the way
Heart for Lebanon provides supplemental food packages each month to ensure we do not create dependency, but give them enough food to form the basis of a healthy diet. As well as food supplies, Heart for Lebanon provides health education sessions to children and their parents to educate them about personal health. The children served the centres not only receive education, but they also learn about the gospel. The centre teacher invests in each life, showing the child how faith in Christ can transform the way they think, live and love others.
Please pray for the group travelling to Lebanon – that God will show them His power, will and safety as they meet and see the work of Heart for Lebanon, to be a blessing to them and the people they help. Thanks!