Lebanon (MNN) — Lebanon’s caretaker leaders failed yet again to form a new government. Now, President Michel Aoun wants help from other countries to overcome the deadlock. Experts warn of further economic despair as the political instability drives currency to a new low.
“Every time the currency goes down further, Lebanon sinks below a lot of third-world countries in terms of minimum wage. We’re now below Mauritania, and we’re below Afghanistan; it’s just unbelievable how little people are making now,” Pierre Houssney of Horizons International says.
Lebanon is stuck in a vicious cycle with no end in sight. Each time the currency loses value, prices go up, and people can buy fewer daily essentials.
“A bottle of milk used to cost 3,000 lire. Now, it’s about 7,000 or 8,000 Lebanese lire,” Houssney describes as an example.
“The strange thing about it is that same bottle of milk when you’re buying it with US dollars is less than 50 cents. So, it’s become quarter of the price for people who have dollars, but for the poor people, it’s over doubled in price.”
Nonetheless, hope remains. “We try to be self-sufficient, and we think that we’re the reason for our successes. But when we begin to struggle, that’s when we ask ourselves what’s going on,” Houssney says.
“Since the crises have been compounding and getting worse, people have nowhere to put their hope, and they’re starting to put their hope in Christ.”
Where to find hope in Lebanon
Certain groups in Lebanon have resisted the Gospel message for decades. Over the past two years, those same groups began to soften. “We see so much openness [and] so much positivity, ever since the COVID pandemic started,” Houssney continues.
As Lebanese turn to Horizons for practical help, believers tell them about a Savior. You can come alongside their efforts here.
“We’re posting messages of hope on social media. We’re working with several different churches to talk about how to provide psychosocial care and counseling for the communities,” Houssney says.
“We’re getting way less negative feedback on our [social media] posts about Christianity from Muslims. Also, we’ve seen among the churches a greater sense of interdependency, more willingness to work together and ‘weather the storm’ together.”
Ask the Lord to bless believers’ efforts to reach Lebanon for Christ. “Be praying that people would genuinely turn to the Lord in great numbers,” Houssney requests.
“Pray churches would be places of refuge for the communities, that the Lord would raise people from around the world to support these churches in the time of need.”
Header image depicts Lebanese President Michel Aoun speaking before the European Parliament in 2018. (Photo credit: © European Union 2018 – European Parliament)