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  • The comments and opinions expressed herein on this web site do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and point of view of Lutheran Hour Ministries. Statements are made exclusively by the author and appear as written and have not be subject to the Lutheran Hour Ministries doctrinal review process.

Holistic Mission to Syrian Refugees

This week MELM staff visited a small camp of Syrian refugees in the vicinity of Saadnayel. We couldn’t miss it. The smell of garbage and sewage was strong from a distance, and the filthy mess is all around us. It is hard to imagine someone is living here.

This place is home to about 35 Syrian families who could not find anywhere better to live. They have slapped together 35 crude tents from scrap wood and plastic, including discarded billboard ads. Even this garbage dump looks good compared with the war back home that has destroyed their houses and killed their families.

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MELM relief team donated 35 packages of food and supplies to these refugee needy families that have nothing. Each one of them was thankful and appreciated our missions’ love and care for them.

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“There is no place else to go,” says Thaer, a father of three small children who fled the shelling in his home town of Homs two years ago. They moved to a small village where his wife’s father lives. Then the government shelled that village late last year and they were forced to move again to the Bekaa valley six months ago. “We don’t have money, clothes, nothing. I just left with my children. I had $500 cash, but I spent it to get here,” he explains.

He is 34, but his hair is marked with gray. “After two years of this, I look older,” he says with a weak smile and a sad face. “My life doesn’t exist anymore,” he says. “My future is lost, but I am worried about my children’s future. I feel like I can do nothing for them, and it’s awful.”

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Until the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad bombed and destroyed his house, Thaer al-Chemali was a truck driver who used to live in Baba Amr, the first suburb that revolted in Homs city. It was later named “the capital of the revolution”. As a truck driver he traveled to all the main cities of Syria. He frequently visited towns near the borders of Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.

The father from Homs used to live a comfortable middle-class life before his house was destroyed. MELM director realized how bad it is for Thaer who traveled to many cities and towns in Syria and cannot return to his own town!

We pray for God to grant Thaer and his family to know Him so that they would enjoy peace and reconciliation.

Training for University Students

The MELM hosted in our office Jal el Dib, Lebanon, for one long day a group of university students who participated in evangelizing training program. In addition we introduce them to the MELM has for evangelizing and follow up purpose. MELM will be coordinating, cooperating, and supporting with any publication these students need to serve the Lord at their universities.

 

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Reaching out to Syrian vulnerable Children

MELM reaching out to Syrian Refugees in al-fayda

This week MELM continued its mission to the Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley and distributed materials for babies in camp al-fayda. We visited camp al-fayda before and made statistics of the number of babies in the families. We were informed by the camp leader that there is great need for food and hygiene materials for children. We also identified few children who were vulnerable and with special needs. We focused particularly on unaccompanied children, and blind children, children that are handicapped and in need of support and care.

We provided milk and hygiene materials for babies, some of them were in a state of malnutrition. We had a list of 56 babies below one year of age who needed support, each package contained milk, diapers, cereals (for those above 6 months), a paper with Biblical quotations about love and a paper with Biblical quotations about healing for the parents. New Testaments were provided for the leaders of the camp.

MELM director oversaw the distribution process and made sure that each family who has a baby received a package according to the list prepared earlier. Each family signed in front of his name once he received the package.

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Reaching out to the Blind Children

After finishing the distribution process, MELM visited a tent where a Syrian refugee woman had two blind children. We gathered three more blind children in the tent along with children with eye weakness. Brothers and sisters of the blind children joined the discussion. The director spoke about the love of God for all mankind to the extent that he sent his own son to help them and heal them. He introduced the story of Bartimaeus the Blind to them and how Jesus healed him. The children were happy to know that God loves them and will not forsake them. Brothers and sisters of the blind children received the Bible story book “Jesus heals Bartimaeus the Blind” as a gift, and were very happy to read it.

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Reaching out Syrian refugees’ Kids

The MELM prepared a program for Syrian refugees’ kids in Nabaa- Beirut,  included a lesson about how Jesus saved us through the Cross, and about His unconditional love toward everyone of us. In addition, the program included games and Christian songs. The kids enjoyed sharing, playing, watching, and listening to a story they haven’t heard before from their Muslims’ parents. Also they were very happy to receive a Bible story that can read at home and tell their parents about Jesus.

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Relief For Syrian Refugees

From Large Warehouses to Syrian Refugee Camps

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, MELM was able to provide relief materials to Syrian Refugees in Lebanon. MELM bought the food supplies from large warehouses because they are much cheaper in price as they sell wholesale.

In this way money was saved and more portions were available to the refugees who escaped the war devastated Syria into the Bekaa valley of Lebanon, which is located 20 minutes away from the Syrian borders.

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MELM volunteers help divide food supplies in equal rations

Volunteers helped us categorize the materials and classify them in groups. The wholesale materials were divided in equal rations and gathered in one package. A scale was used to weigh the quantities so that each family receives the same portion. Each family received 3 kg of rice, 3 kg of wheat groats (bergol), 2 kg of sugar, 2 liters of oil, tomato sauce, 4 potions of pasta, 2 portion of Tuna fish, 2 portions of sardine, 2 portions of cheese, meat cans, Halawa, Foul, beans and salt.

 

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The Refugee camps in Lebanon

Contrary to Jordan where the Za’atri camp had grown to 400,000 people since the start of the war in Syria in 2011 and actually become one of the biggest cities in Jordan; the Lebanese government did not gather the Syrian refugees in large main camps but left them to reside in small groups in the Bekaa valley with no infrastructure whatsoever.

MELM reached out to these small groups and tried to support them and take care of their Holistic needs. Each package contained a brochure about the meaning of Love in the Bible and the healing of God for all those who believe in Him. Leaders of the camps received New Testaments.

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Staff distribute food rations for Syrian Refugee

MELM director went several times to the Bekaa Valley to assess the situation of the refugees and their needs. Statistics were made for several small camps and a leader was designated from each camp to help in the headcount of each family name and number of children.

During the distribution process, the director had to refer to a printed list of all families living in the camp, a lengthy process but one which reduces the risk of fraud or of several members of the same family receiving different portions.

By referring to the pre-registration information of the families listed on the paper, staff can ensure than the rations only go to their rightful recipients.

Once we arrived a crowd mainly of women and children stretched around us to receive the relief packages, and each person signed that he received the package on behalf of his family.

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 Story of Douham al-Abid (Abu Walid)

Refugees are innocent human beings forced to flee their homes and communities. Facing physical, mental, and emotional trauma, refugees confront amazing obstacles during their escape from persecution and war. The story of Abu Walid family is remarkable. It’s a really bad experience to leave your homeland. Where you were born, and lived all your life… you lose not only your possessions but your community”.

He has survived a war and held his family together, but lost his comfortable life. “We did not have much before but we had a normal as people live here. Everything was nice before the war”.

We sympathized with Abu Walid and informed him that even if circumstances were against him God is always there for those who seek Him with all their heart. God loved them and will take care of them as a true shepherd does with his sheep. We gave Abu Walid a New Testament and encouraged him to read it and ask us any question as we will surely visit him again next time.

MELM prays for Abu Walid and his family to know the Good Shepherd and listen to His voice and He has “…other sheep …and must bring them also”. (John 10: 16)

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Bible Study for University Students

“Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.”(psalm 127:4)

The MELM prepared a program for university students in Dikwaneh, Lebanon. The program included Bible study, Christian songs, and games. All the attendees enjoyed the program and learned many valuable things including how to witness to others. They asked for another similar program, so we set the date for another meeting.

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PC Easter Adventure at schools

The students are enjoying the MELM Puzzle Club DVD series therefore the Rabieh School requested from MELM to show the PC Easter Adventure movie to students. MELM represented by Miss Katia Sahyouni have given a series of devotions at Rabieh school explaining and discussing the true meaning of Easter though the PC EASTER ADVENTURE movie which was showed for many days to many grades levels. Also the devotions included joyful Christian songs that the students loved singing them. In addition they felt blessed by receiving the movie book story as a gift.

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