Dear brothers and sisters, Greetings in the name of our Lord! I hope you have had time to unwind and relax over the past summer while creating memories with your loved ones. I want to take a moment to express our heartfelt thanks for your continued support and dedication to our ministry. Summer is a season of growth and renewal, and your support has helped us flourish in countless ways. We are grateful for your unwavering commitment to our mission. As we prepare to transition into a new season, know that your generosity and prayers continue to inspire us. We look forward to the future with hope, fueled by your support. Thank you for being the driving force behind our ministry’s success. We appreciate you more than words can express.
On July 31, I traveled to Damascus, Syria with Elie Haddad (CBM MENA team leader, and Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS) president). We met with the pastors who are part of the Baptist Union in Syria. It was an exciting time for fellowship, meeting with faithful and godly men who are leading different ministries in the war-torn country under incredibly challenging conditions. It was encouraging to hear stories of hope amidst the despair that the Syrian people are experiencing, and how the Church in Syria is actively engaged in the community, sharing the Gospel in word and deed, and providing food and medical assistance for those who are struggling.
The education sector is heavily affected by war as some schools have been destroyed while others were forced to reduce the number of students they can take in due to financial crises. Some churches have provided non-formal education to kids in their communities who have been forced out of school, especially among displaced families.
One of the pastors shares that most of those who benefit from this ministry come from a non-Christian background, this has been a great opportunity for them to share the Gospel with these kids and has also allowed them to build strong relationships with their parents. He says: “God has opened a door for us to reach out to people who have never been exposed to the Gospel, we pray that we will be able to serve them faithfully and that a new generation of believers and church leaders would come out of them.”
The Church in Syria is facing a crisis in leadership, as the country has been and continues to be drained of its youth who are leaving for the West to seek better opportunities. Those who remain in the country need to be equipped, the conversation with Elie revolved around the role ABTS can play in training the young people who are called to the ministry.
I traveled to Sudan at the end of March to meet with our partners there as we were planning a retreat for this year’s projects. But, two weeks later, and as the Church in Khartoum was preparing to celebrate Easter, an armed conflict broke out between the Sudanese army and a militia called the Rapid Support Forces in Khartoum. What started as a small-scale shootout, rapidly escalated. A week after the conflict started, it became obvious that this was going to be a long-term war, electricity was cut off from the city, and water supplies became scarce.
Amid short periods of cease-fire, a couple who are ABTS graduates, and their young son were among those who fled, leaving everything they owned behind. With only the clothes they had on, they headed to the north. As soon as they arrived there, they contacted a local church and started attending worship gatherings. The pastor of the church, knowing the father who is a pastor, invited him to help with leading Bible study meetings and discipleship classes. Shortly after, they started visiting new families, praying with them, and sharing the Gospel with those from a non-Christian background. The father shares: “Although the country is going through a difficult time, we are witnessing a great revival. People are scared and need hope, Jesus is the answer to their needs.”
Along with a team of 15 volunteers, he is now traveling in the nearby villages holding outdoor evangelistic events seeing many responding to the call to follow Jesus!
Summer in Lebanon is a time for families and friends to get together and enjoy the beautiful warm weather. As a family, we had the opportunity to disconnect from the busyness of life. Our boys, Jad and Rami, love to go to the pool. We had a great time with them, teaching them swimming skills (although we are not strong swimmers). We had a wonderful time with family and friends, making memories that would be remembered, hiking in the beautiful mountains of Lebanon, or sharing meals. The boys are now getting ready to resume classes. School started on September 26, and they were excited about going back and being reunited with their classmates.
Despite the horrors of war in Sudan, and the gloomy situation in Syria and Lebanon due to the financial crisis, we have hope. Hope that is built on the promise of Jesus in John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
- For the Church in Syria, Lebanon, and Sudan as it serves as a beacon of Hope shining the Light of Jesus amid the darkness surrounding it.
- For Lebanon, that the parliament would elect a new president and a new government to implement much-needed financial reforms.
- For Syria, that the rebuilding projects to start so that those who were displaced would be able to return to their homes safely.
- For financial stability as people are suffering from inflation.
- For Sudan, that the war would stop; that fighting groups would hold peace talks and allow for a civil government to lead the country.
Thank you for your support. We know that our work would not be possible if it were not for your generous giving and prayers. Praying that you would be “strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” – Ephesians 3.