As Pierre Houssney of Horizons International explains, it’s a multi-layered catastrophe.
First, “There was a civil war that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of Lebanese people. And then, the corruption; all the ‘under the table’ dealings,” Houssney describes.
“When the political protests happened, that caused the economy to collapse to a great degree. And now, COVID has taken an economy that was on its knees and laid it flat on its back.”
Speaking hope to Lebanon
People need hope and answers to life’s biggest questions, and they’re not finding it in government. “We’re just getting tens of thousands of questions coming in” through social media, Houssney says.
“The evangelism that we had been doing in-person… we’ve kind of converted all that into virtual means. We’ve been filming evangelistic videos; we’ve beefed up our social media to answer people’s questions,” he continues.
“We ‘virtualized’ a lot of our spiritual ministry activities.”
While meeting neighbors’ spiritual needs is first and foremost, Horizons staff also attend to physical demands created by Lebanon’s crises. In the past, “Emergency relief [was primarily] needed for Syrian refugees, but in these times, they’re needed for Lebanese as well,” Houssney explains.
“A lot of people have lost their jobs… [they] are on half wages. In this time, even a bag of bread that we’re providing is a meaningful help.”
Find your place in the story
Now that you know, ask the Lord how He wants you to respond. Find ways to support Horizons’ work in Lebanon here.
Watch for opportunities in your community, too, Houssney adds. “Since there are Muslims all over the world, reach out to the Muslims and the Arabs in your community. Start making relationships with them; share the Gospel with them,” he suggests.
“At this time, when we can’t do short-term trips or anything, there’s still so much that can be done [through] virtual means.”
Header image depicts 2019 Lebanese protestors. (Photo credit: Shahen Books/CC4.0)