Children’s Christmas Program in Lebanon and Syria
By Philip Akiki
For Jesus so loved the world that he came to fulfill our need for salvation. Every Christmas season, we commemorate this message by spreading the good news of salvation among children. Children are truly God’s masterpiece, crafted and shaped by His miraculous work. Local churches in Lebanon and Syria have been working effectively with children, reflecting God’s love for them. This Christmas season, 3,108 children in Lebanon and 3,468 in Syria left with more than just a tangible gift, but with the real gift of Jesus engraved in their hearts and minds. This Christmas season, they experienced how precious they are in the sight of God.
Christmas events at churches are made special with biblical storytelling, hymns, puppet shows, sketches, games, prayers, and fun activities. Given the local context in Syria and Lebanon, vulnerable families are finding it increasingly difficult to provide for their children. For many, celebrating Christmas by exchanging gifts is a luxury they can no longer afford.
In return, words of thankfulness overflowed from the hearts of those vulnerable children combined with hugs, and wide smiles. The churches were very grateful for the provision of generous support that empowered their ministry. After the events, the churches received messages from the children, thanking the leaders for the gifts and expressing their appreciation. At Safita church in Syria, three sisters recorded their singing and took time to thank the pastor, the church, and the supporters for their thoughtful gifts, putting into practice what they learned.
At Christ Church in Fanar, Lebanon, a lesson was illustrated from the struggles of the Lebanese people who suffer constantly from electricity shortages.
“Do you like when electricity cuts? Nobody wants to live in darkness!” the teacher said. She then added: “Light is good!” as she referred to Jesus who is the light of the world.
A plant can never grow in the desert without a miracle to transform the ground into a fertile land. The same is happening with the children of Syrian refugees in Anjar (Bekaa, Lebanon). Life’s tough circumstances led them, unwillingly, to leave their country and come to Lebanon, without any hope of obtaining their basic needs. From the life of these children, we clearly witness the goodness of God and His remarkable work in their lives. During their stay in a school in Anjar, the children learned lessons about God, shaping their personalities and characters. What was once a dream is now reality, seeing how the children are progressing in every aspect of their lives.
Many of these vulnerable children were raised in tent settlements. They have been subject to all kinds of violence, including child labor and the traumatizing effects of war. For instance, the Syrian refugees’ children at Faith Baptist Church learned practical lessons about forgiveness. They learned that God is love and He will never forsake them. The Kurdish church in Burj Hammoud (Lebanon) has been following up with a Syrian family that recently escaped from the cruel war in Syria. Tortured and assaulted, this family lost their 13-year-old daughter. Their other daughter became handicapped and in need of a wheelchair, and their son’s face was burned.
Tragedy stole from this family all sense of joy and serenity. But the Lord is compassionate; they experienced true love and care through the church’s outreach programs. On the day of the Christmas event, their daughter insisted on coming to church, even though she had to take the stairs from the fourth floor with her wheelchair. She spent an amazing time, and left with the desire to know Christ.
Growing up without a mother has had dramatic effects on the life of Ethan, an 8-year-old child. After years of suffering from a chronic disease, Ethan’s mom passed away leaving behind Ethan and his younger brother. The Baptist Church in Homs, Syria, reached this shattered family and brought Ethan to the Christmas event, where excitement and gratitude filled his heart. The smile of the boy covered his face, and with thrilled eyes, he hugged his gift.
The same church in Homs sent a team to the villages of Wadi Al-Nasara in western Syria. Due to the shortage of fuel, it was difficult to find a vehicle to carry the gifts. Challenges were great, but our God is greater. Finally, they found a truck, they set up the equipment, and launched the program.
Through this ministry, we marvel at the power of God’s Word in action, raising a future generation that will declare the glory and goodness of God in a world that thirsts for salvation.
Planting God’s Word in Children at a Young Age
BCYM aims at sharing God’s Word with children at a young age. Your prayers are greatly appreciated for the children and this ministry as it works in new regions.