Having been encouraged by a friend to attend, on Saturday, January 11th Rana set off for the Family to Gather event that was taking place at the ABTS Moore Conference Center that day. Hoping to find support in the midst of the political and economic crisis happening in Lebanon and keep her family strong despite all of the uncertainty and anxiety it produced, she brought her husband, nursery-aged son, and 8-year-old daughter along with her. What happened for her family there, however, was beyond what she could have hoped for.
Strengthening the witness of the Church in the Arab World is the very reason we exist as LSESD. We made a decision to stand by the Church in Syria since the beginning of the war in 2011, and to date we continue to partner with around 25 churches that are deeply involved in responding to the needs of their people.
At the Christmas event, I met a 9 or 10-year-old child who told me, “Jesus healed me!” His mom explained that when they came to Lebanon her child could hardly walk without leg braces. He had been suffering for some time and was scheduled for a hip replacement! When the mother shared her concern about the surgery with the church, the sisters and brothers prayed over the child. Soon after, the mother and child went to the surgeon for a pre-surgery appointment where, to their amazement, they were informed that the bone was healing and that there was no need for surgery. Today, the boy walks normally and without any braces. God is good!
After having meditated on and journeyed through the Lord’s prayer for the past seven months, the concluding words of the Lord’s Prayer remind us that it all starts and ends with God’s glory and His Sovereignty. And it is when God stops being the center of our lives that things start to fall apart.
Imagine that you are held at gunpoint waiting to be executed by the foreign soldiers who are terrorizing your land. You close your eyes and anticipate the pull of the trigger that will end your life in an instant when suddenly a miracle occurs, and your executioners are blown away by the blast of a friendly tank shell.
Two important aspects of our faith are the intimacy of our relationship with God and that we are part of a community of fellow believers. Both wonderfully highlighted in the opening two words of the Lord’s Prayer. God’s great love for all people is also a central theme of our latest book release When Righteous Fall by Rev. Dr. Nabil Haddad.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning when Sheila and her husband Tim made their way to our church in Bikfaya. After the service, a group of seasoned church members enthusiastically gathered around them, each one waiting for their turn to greet the visitors with heartfelt hugs and kisses.
When asked “What would your dream gift be this Christmas?” Hashem*, a seven year old Syrian boy relied “To eat chicken!”