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Heart for Lebanon

Meet Tom Atema, the Co-Founder of Heart for Lebanon (HFL), on Sunday, October 15, immediately following the service at 11:15 am in Room OH 203. All are welcome. Tom will be the guest speaker in the Disciples Class.

Lake Avenue has partnered with Heart for Lebanon over the years, sending teams to Pastor Milad’s Rayak church to help Syrian refugees. Our relationship with Rayak started when we partnered with “Kids Around the World” in a project of building a playground for the Syrian refugee kids. Then we met Pastor Milad of the local church, and the rest is history. We’ve visited the church for 4 years now— 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2022. The trips helped the local church with their school program, medical clinics, kids’ sport camps for Vacation Bible Schools by day and revival meetings in the evenings. We’ve stayed in contact after each trip trying to help remotely as much as we can. We helped with fuel to heat the refugee tents in the cold winter.  We supported small projects like sewing machines and daycare in a tent. During the last country financial crisis, we filled the gap and sent money for a meal once a week for all the school kids (290 kids) for the entire school year. We’ve helped in adding one school classroom to one of the existing schools. We have also come alongside them after the earthquake last year. The country of Lebanon is no stranger to crisis. Eighteen years of civil/regional wars plus thirty years of foreign occupation and soaring unemployment are driving more and more families below the poverty line daily. The COVID-19 crisis and the explosion that devastated downtown Beirut have only compounded the desperation of the situation in Lebanon.

Today Lebanon hosts the highest population of refugees per capita of any country in the world. These families have fled war and violence, seeking shelter and basic provisions. Heart for Lebanon comes alongside families living in despair by helping meet physical needs, providing access to education, and building authentic relationships that allow us to introduce them to the hope that is found in Jesus Christ. Heart for Lebanon is taking full advantage of this unique season to reach, engage, and disciple men, women, and children, many of whom have never heard the truth about Jesus Christ.

These environments allow the national staff the privilege to hold relational conversations, giving our team time to speak one-on-one with families while listening to their emotional needs and stresses. Sharing life stories opens the door for the team to introduce Jesus Christ into the conversation and unconditionally invite the family to attend Bible Studies and Worship Gatherings.