Jesus was full of compassion during his time on earth. His compassion always led to action. When Jesus saw that the widow’s son had died, “he felt compassion for her” and then healed him (Luke 7 13). In Mark 6: 34, “Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.” And Jesus’ response when crowds followed him to a remote area was that “he had compassion on them and healed the sick” (Matthew 14: 14).
The compassion of Christ for the people of the Middle East then inspires LSESD’s relief and community development programs now. Our first emergency relief response was to show Christ’s love in action to those displaced by the 2006 war. Since 2011, most of our resources have been focused on responding compassionately to thousands of Syrian refugees that are in our communities today, displaced by the horrific conflict in Syria and left poor and disadvantaged. Their needs, be they financial, educational, medical, emotional or spiritual, are huge and we feel compelled to do something to ease the plight they face.
We currently have over 20 relief projects running across Lebanon, Syria and Iraq covering education, child protection, basic assistance (health care, water sanitation and hygiene supplies, milk and diapers), monthly food assistance. Also capacity building of partner churches and other community-based organizations (ex. training on gender-based violence). Click here for the latest update on our relief projects.
The pressures on refugees are significantly increasing as international aid is cut from bodies like the World Food Programme. Although we try not to make those we help dependent on aid, many find they are increasingly reliant as it is illegal for them to work. Their savings are either seriously depleted or they are heavily in debt. Without the support of LSESD's community development and relief arm, MERATH, many of the families we are helping would be forced into drastic action to survive by reducing the number of meals they have each day, taking their kids out of school so they can work, or putting their health at risk by not spending enough money on hygiene.
The context in which MERATH works is hugely challenging with the situation on the ground changing day by day. We distribute all of our relief through local church partners and faith based organisations who regularly advise us as changes develop. We are giving them training so they can administer relief and assist as many as possible in a co-ordinated, accountable and helpful way.
We work not only with local partners but with international ones as well. The support they provide is vital for our work and is also a huge encouragement to local churches who are serving their needy communities. By working together, MERATH, the local and global Church can show Christ's compassion for the Middle East one life at a time, and bring hope where hope has almost been lost. Please support us through your prayers and by giving to this life saving work.
For information on how you can partner with LSESD,contact us.
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