On Sunday, April 18th, 2021, we held our annual missions fundraiser in support of our partnership with Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM), the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD), and the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS).
The Botros family, our missions partners in Lebanon, joined us from Beirut, via Zoom. Dr. Botros spoke in the morning service and he and his family answered questions afterwards during our virtual luncheon. We heard moving stories about the difficult conditions in Lebanon and the role of the LSESD in helping to meet the challenging needs.
Here are some highlights of the luncheon:
- The Botros family answered questions that had been submitted beforehand, and also some that were asked during the luncheon. Each member of the family took part in this, thus allowing us to see the situation from each of their viewpoints, and to get a feel for what their lives are like. Timmy and Nathaniel shared that, even though their schooling is online at this time, they appreciate that they are able to meet with friends about once a week to play football in the park.
- Lebanon has been without a government since their prime minister resigned in October, 2020. The absence of a government has created more challenges for the Lebanese and impacts the people’s lives in many different ways.
- We also heard about the major economic issues that the Lebanese are facing, such as soaring inflation. Despite strict lockdowns and fears of COVID-19, many must work in order to feed their families. Lebanon does not have the safety nets that Canada has.
- Another situation that is having a major impact on the Lebanese is the huge number of Syrian refugees living in their midst.
- We watched a video, “Ministry of Presence in the time of Covid,” which speaks of some of the hardships brought on by COVID-19 and what the LSESD is doing to meet the many, challenging needs, including delivering nutritional meals to vulnerable families, visiting them through phone calls, and praying for them.
- We heard an informative report from Heather Russell-MacLean. She shared:
- A brief portion of Lebanon’s history: Against the backdrop of the legacy of war and civil unrest, the challenges faced by the Lebanese have been exacerbated and multiplied by COVID-19, the financial crisis, and the massive port explosion of last August.
- Another part of Lebanon’s history is the major impact that refugees have had on the Lebanese. A small country of 4 million people, Lebanon had already welcomed hundreds of Palestinian refugees in the 1940s and on through the 20th century. With the onset of the civil war in Syria in the early part of this century, over a million Syrians fled for their lives into Lebanese cities and mountains. This massive influx of people drove wages down, the price of goods and rent up, and put pressure on schools and health systems. Added to these tensions was the reality that Syrian had invaded and occupied Lebanon for over 20 years. Churches have struggled to know what to do, many choosing to help their former enemies.
- An overview of the LSESD – their organizational structure and the various areas that they are involved in, in ministering to the people of Lebanon, including the Syrian refugees. These areas include children’s education in a Christian context, seminary education for students from the Middle East and North Africa, relief and development in partnership with local churches and organizations to support vulnerable families, and ministry to vulnerable children and youth.
- Laureen Snook showed us photos from the SENT team’s trip to Lebanon in 2019. She also shared how she was impacted by her experiences on the trip.
Supporting the work of the CBM in Lebanon makes a lot of sense! “The infrastructure is already there, so our role is to pray, to learn, and to donate. This is how each and every one of us, can make a tangible difference.” (Heather RM)
Last year, our church raised $9,633 from our Lebanon fundraiser. Our target for this year is $9,000 – let’s see if we can beat it! As of April 28th, our online giving through our CBM donations page has reached $5,645.
Ways to give:
- Online with a credit card: https://www.givetogo.org/team/FBCRegina
- Mail, or drop off, your donation to First Baptist Church, 2241 Victoria Ave, Regina SK S4P 0S4. (Please do not leave cash in the mailbox.) If you require an in-person pick up, call the church at (306) 359-1450.
- Make cheques out to CBM
- Note “FBC – SENT Lebanon” in the memo line or on the envelope
Where your gift goes:
- Botros Team Support
Support Emad and Almess Botros in their ministry in Lebanon. Emad is an Assistant Professor in the areas of Old Testament and Islamic Studies at ABTS, where he trains and equips students for ministry across the Middle East and North Africa.
- Middle East Consultation
These funds normally go to cover registration and travel cost for non-western participants at the Middle East Consultation (MEC) at ABTS. Through this support, these church leaders and pastors are able to travel to Lebanon, attend the MEC, and then return to their home country and ministry. Note: During COVID-19, MEC 2020 was held online. Funds helped with the cost of speakers, planning, etc.
- Syrian Refugee Support
These funds make it possible for Syrian refugee children to participate in camp ministry in Zahle. Increasing each child’s self-esteem and building strong relationships with them, are key aims of the ministry. Camps held all year round include music, a Bible message, games and crafts. Children also go on visits to farms and other places they would not normally go to in order to make them feel special. Note: During COVID-19, funds may be used for other forms of refugee support.
Lebanese recipes (for virtual luncheon at home):
|Lebanese Ground Beef (Hashweh)||Beef Kafta||Chicken Shawarma|
|Lebanese Crispy Falafel||Bulgur Pilaf||Lebanese Rice|
|Almond Milk Rice Pudding|
LSESD Video from March 13, 2021