NEST Newsletter – December 2021
From the President
For the second year now we are beginning the new year under the shadow of the grave crisis, the collapse that our country Lebanon is undergoing. We, like all institutions of learning, have been affected. We were expecting 5 more SiMo students; we could have had more local students, had the situation been normal; we were supposed to host more than one workshop and training session for churches and groups from outside Lebanon in the summer. But, apparently, the crisis is going to last for many years, and we have to brace ourselves for this. Every year it is a struggle for survival; actually, every day is a struggle for survival. Things are bad on all fronts: I need not recount to you the conditions under which we live, the uncertainty that surrounds us in regard to everything that we normally used to take for granted in the past, and that other people in other countries take for granted and don’t bother to even think about: electricity, water, food, gasoline, medications, etc. – simply all the essential needs. All this has brought about increasing poverty, unemployment, emigration, desperation, depression, and in some cases suicide (the rate has been increasing).
In spite of all this, NEST continues to carry on its mission, as this Newsletter will tell you in words and pictures. Students from the region and from Europe and North America still come to study here; churches still ask us to hold study sessions on our premises; pastors from Europe still come to spend a three-months’ study sabbatical; our Resource Center for Christian Education is still active in holding training sessions for the churches in Syria; and we still cultivate Christian-Muslim relations. In the midst of this country’s severe educational crisis we have launched a new online Diploma in Theological Studies in Arabic; and in this situation of hopelessness and decay all around us, we have dedicated a new Chapel for worship, thanksgiving and praise.
Thanks be to God who accompanies, inspires and motivates us; and many thanks to our partners and friends all over the world who continue to believe in NEST’s mission and extend their support.