Pray with Lebanon, November 27, 2022

Pray with Lebanon, November 27, 2022

Lectionary Selection Matthew 24:36-44

Prayers for Lebanon

Our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, almighty and only God, whose ways are unknowable, but whose care ever surrounds us, in these uncertain days across the world we pray today for Lebanon: for the people whose lives are entrenched in the sorrows of an unstable life, unable to look forward with the smallest measure of hope.

We intercede for those who have set their hopes on life elsewhere, whose only thought is to find work outside Lebanon. We intercede for those who are willing to die on the open seas as they flee the misery of life in Lebanon. We intercede for those desperate ones who are willing to die in order to withdraw own their money for life-saving medical treatment for loved ones. We intercede for the broken hearts and broken families who are scattered to the winds because of their uncaring and self-absorbed leaders. Keep your church in Lebanon awake and ready to live for you, to show your truth and goodness in all it does, prepared to receive you at any time, whether in caring for the least of your brothers and sisters, or in greeting your return as the bright-shining Star who even now illuminates this present darkness. In the name of Christ Jesus, Amen.

Mission Stewardship Moment from Lebanon

The early reports in September were that over 20 migrants perished in an un-seaworthy boat off the northern coast of Lebanon – Lebanese, Palestinians, Syrians. The number of the dead grew, bit by bit, until it reached nearly 150, with only 20 or so survivors from that death boat. They considered the risky voyage as a small price to pay – in addition to the thousands of dollars they paid to human traffickers – for this journey away from their misery, which, they were assured, would be “like a vacation”. And still, there are many more who are determined to leave Lebanon by the same method, willing to risk death or the death of their family members in the process.

In a place like Lebanon where people’s dignity is routinely trodden underfoot, the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East, along with Haigazian University, partner bodies to the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), steadfastly seek ways to elevate the dignity of God’s beloved. Dealing with the near total absence of municipal electricity in the country, it has pushed forward solar power installations in a number of its institutions, eventually including all of them. This does not just have a positive environmental impact, but it also frees resources to be used to benefit the students at its schools.

For the past three years, the Union’s Armenian Evangelical schools in Lebanon have been collecting only a few dollars from parents as a symbolic annual tuition payment. To forestall an education deficit among Lebanon’s young people, Haigazian University has put in place a similar scheme, in order to keep tuition payments low, while filling the large gap with generous scholarship grants funded by numerous donors, including alumni, friends, Global Ministries and the Armenian Missionary Association of America.

In October, renowned Lebanese actress, psychologist and drama therapist, Zeina Daccache, screened her 2021 film, “The Blue Inmates”, at Haigazian University. The film highlights the plight of Lebanese who are imprisoned with mental health illness yet are left untreated. Daccache is not only bringing her skills in drama therapy to help that group of inmates, she is also bringing to the fore the need for legal reform to enable prisoners to be treated for their illness and then return to their families and daily lives.

Indeed, many Lebanese would consider living in this country as a type of mass incarceration, but the Lord Jesus’ command to his church has always been the same: to “stay awake”. When believers can regard every difficulty and every challenge as an opportunity to minister to Jesus himself, they will bring the hope of the gospel to a hurting society such as this.

Prayer and Mission Moment by Nishan Bakalian

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Nishan and Maria Bakalian serve with the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East, headquartered in Lebanon. Their appointments are made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts. Make a gift that supports the work of Nishan and Maria Bakalian