It has been two years since the August 4 Beirut port blast. “I still remember it like it was yesterday” shared Loulwa El Maalouf, Director of Partnerships at ABTS. “I was closing my office door and was just about to head to the car when I heard the loud explosion and felt a strong gust of wind hit the ABTS building [less than 8km/5mi from the blast site]. A couple of other staff members were still on-site, and we came together quickly to try and make sense of what was happening. I remember going home that day how intense the panic was on the streets.” In the wake of the blast, the Lord moved through many of our friends and partners to help those impacted by the blast. Through the faithful stewardship and holistic ministry of several local churches, the Lord allowed us to stand beside over one thousand impacted individuals as they began to get back on their feet in addition to those we hosted and served on campus.
Today, even though the situation remains difficult because of the economic crisis and the different challenges Lebanon is going through, we continue to see the life changing hand of God at work in the lives of those we were able to support. We have seen the focus of many of them shift from their circumstances towards Christ, His goodness, and His promises for their lives. Below are some stories of change that our church partners have shared with us. These are the result of multiple churches and Christian organizations, including ABTS and our friends and partners, coming together for one purpose. We pray that you are encouraged by them as we are.
Joe from a church in Beirut:
A lot of the homes have been fixed, but the crisis continues, and the situation is dire. Yet we are always thankful because we know that we are not alone, that our God is sovereign, and that His mercies endure forever. I thank the Lord for allowing us to support 75 families that were impacted by the explosion. But what we praise God the most for is the relationships that He helped us develop with these families. People have a deep thirst to know more about God. We learned how great it is to get to know people and to love them like Jesus did. Our visitation team continues to follow up with these families, checking in on them, sharing the gospel with them, and answering any questions they might have about God. Several now come to church on a regular basis. Please continue to pray for these families as they still face many challenges. Pray that the Lord continues to touch their hearts and give them peace.
Elie from a church serving those impacted around Beirut:
My team and I continue to visit at least six families a week and follow up with most of the people we were able to help. One of these families has opened their home to host a Bible study. They deeply enjoy hearing about Christ. The father accepted Christ as his Savior a while back, and I pray that the rest of the family follows soon. Another person we met is a caretaker for two elderly men. She has grown tremendously with the Lord and has shared her faith with so many around her. There are at least 10 new people at church who have come because of her outreach! She will hopefully be baptized soon. The mother of a family we support has also come to accept Christ as her Lord and savior. She has a heart to learn more about Christ and is studying the Bible. She struggles with her family, mainly because her husband cannot contend with the idea of a loving God amidst all the suffering his family has been through. Still, her faith is strong and is growing every day. I pray that her family comes to know His love through the change they see in her.