Welcome to our Christmas 2021 Life Center newsletter. In our summer newsletter we heard about the suffering of the Lebanese people, not only from COVID, but also the collapse of the economy which cast many people into abject poverty. Sad to say the situation is now worse as you will hear in this very personal – and inspiring – report from Pastor Said.
But before you read on please accept the thanks from those of us at Hayat Ministries for your support for the Life Center. You, and people like you, make this work possible. So, Happy Christmas – and thank you!
Message from Pastor Said
Greetings from Beirut Life Center,
We’ve made it, I hope you are doing well in the the perfect will of our Loving God.
In the midst of the Lebanese Turmoil & Distress, many are contacting me, asking to hear something about us, the ministry, Christmas and Lebanon situation, wondering how the Lebanese are preparing for Christmas in the midst of the worse crisis in modern history and one of the top three crises in the past 150 years. To be frank with you, while everyone around is hungry, I was wondering what to say? After all, isn’t remembering the fact that the only high exalted God chose to be born in a manger with the poor and broken, not in a Palace, so he can make himself reachable, tangible, touchable, accessible to everyone, rich and poor. What’s most special about Christmas. This reality is what makes all the difference in our lives, families, community. This is our confidence, that The Great “I AM” is with us, Emanuel!
I am sure that reading this letter till the end, will bless you richly. I was praying and wondering how to be an encouragement in spite of all that is going on in our country? Can life spring out of death, richness out of poverty? Is it possible to experience God’s Love and victory in the midst of the present distress? Is this possible?
Lebanese citizens had never imagined that Lebanon our dear country, would lose everything, even the very basic things of a normal living. Like total black-out of electricity, shortage of water, petrol for cars, diesel for heating, medicines and more. No more cash in the banks, loss of 95% of our salary value, having no access to insurance. I mean nothing spared. May no other country ever have to experience this.
How do you respond when basic things like heating or eating or having two hours of electricity becomes a luxury? When all your hopes and dreams fall apart, when nothing is left to hold on to, when even the ones you served, loved and sacrificed your life for, full heartedly, turn against you because of distress, tearing you apart, as if you were the reason for their misery and the country’s ruin?
Do I stay, or leave, persevere or surrender, fight or give up, choose to forgive or take revenge? Do I allow depression, oppression, distress,? Do I lose hope?
While everything and everyone is falling apart, some start owning weapons preparing for the worst. The future of their wives and children is at risk. They feel captive to the unknown. In the best case scenarios they are risking their lives if they have no other choice but to stay in the country. Those who can afford it decide to take death boats to flee the country. In vain attempts to save their families in high rough seas where death is sure.
Lebanon our cherished country is falling apart The economy has collapsed, the Lebanese pound continues to collapse, our politicians are watching but doing nothing about it!
“We Need a Miracle”, the Lebanese are in shock! Their salaries are not enough for 40 litres of petrol or 10 litres of milk. Children are starving, soldiers are bankrupt, their income is not enough for two weeks transportation. Many nurses and doctors have left the country. All are trying to get a passport or a visa to desert Lebanon in an attempt to rescue their life and future. Even some local church leaders are queuing in front of foreign embassies to get a visa. Church members and people in our neighbourhood are counting on our help for survival, while we are struggling as well to face the same giants of fear, frustration, anger, darkness, shortage, hunger, rumours of civil war, uncertainty, and the list goes on. Everyone feels desperate.
As a pastor, what do you do? Quit?! Take the first plane to the EU or USA searching for security, stability and comfort? Might it be a rewarding solution?
Those who leave the country have our sympathy, but how can a pastor leave his flock at such a time? Isn’t it at this time that people most need us to have our actions speak louder than words, to see proof that the Word of God is effective in any circumstance, to see that he is faithful, that His promises are true, that He never fails his children?
Will we allow our Great Pastor, the Great shepherd, our Jesus, Christ the Exalted one, who left His glory to come to us in a manger, seeking for the lost, The One who makes his dwelling with the poor, the broken, the contrite and lowly in Spirit. (Is 57:15) to encourage us, Emanuel? Isn’t our greatest desire to be where He is!
I feel encouraged by those Pastors, (shepherds) who stay in Lebanon at the darkest of times, when trouble surrounds them. They have decided to allow their light to shine. They will not draw back, they will press on. They will feed the flock and continue to preach good tidings and to be an encouragement to everyone. They are determined to see His glory and Celebrate His Victory.
The Lord spoke to us from the life of David, it applies perfectly to our situation. As you read through what I share, you will offer praise to God.
As I was meditating, I found “our” story in first Samuel chapter 30:
When everything falls apart, when everyone fails you, it is time to come back to your senses and recognize that there is a loving Father seated on the Throne, who holds all power, strength and Love, Like David you can run to him and find refuge, comfort, guidance, power and strength, Victory and restoration.
David Prayed, he asked the Lord, and encouraged himself in the Lord.
Our people are captive to fear, hunger, uncertainty. However, we are the hope not only for them but to all this falling world. The church is the answer to the Nations. Jesus is The Answer to every question. His love is complete. His grace is enough.
HE gives us the courage to endure, resist, live fullness of life, fight back, fast and pray, sacrifice our comfort, stand in our position, resist the enemy by faith, be filled with hope, trust that the sun will shine again, wage war and wear the opposite Spirit till we meet Jesus face to face in the kingdom where we will celebrate the ultimate victory…
The Church is Alive, it is the bride, it is the body of Christ and the reflection of His Glory.
At the Life Center, this is what is happening. With the two fish and five loaves of bread thousands are eating. Last month we had countless miracles take place. One woman with two blind eyes was totally healed and a man with one blind eye was totally healed. We saw cancers healed and a dying young man was restored to life with a word of faith. Yesterday 4 miracles took place as we gathered and prayed. The Grace of God is with us like we never experienced it before.
With your help this year, we have fed and supported thousands of affected families. As a consequence many have enrolled to study the Bible. We started classes for children, young people and adults. At the moment, we have more than 600 adults who registered for Bible study classes. We divide them into small groups after they have completed the Life Leadership Institute. We also launched new children programs and are reaching hundreds of kids between the online literacy teachings classes, the weekly Friday children’s club and the kids outreaches and events. Not forgetting the weekly Al Massira small groups in Beirut and in the Bekaa Valley with the refugees. Furthermore, our youth group is growing in number and maturity through the study of the Word.
Sunday Service, Outreach and Bible institute at the Life Center
The Fields are white. People are flooding through the Life Center asking for food, medicine, support and help. We are doing our best to help with limited resources. Workers are few and the need for more small group pastors and teachers is big. The opportunity is great! This is the time for the children of God to manifest the glory of Jesus! This is your opportunity to be encouraged in the Lord, to join your faith with ours, to join us in the fight and Celebrate His Victory.
Allow me to take the opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy Blessed New Year (2022). What a blessing to know you and to remember that our God Almighty was born in a manger to be close to us, available to us, available to the poor and the hungry. He heals the broken hearted and makes His dwelling place with us. He gathers us all as one family around Himself. He grants us success and security forever. Jesus was born 2000 years ago. His pure blood washed our sins away and we are waiting for His second coming when He takes His children and establishes His order.
Let’s keep up the good work, and fight the good fight of Faith Hope and Love.
Kingdom Blessings from Beirut Life Center.
P. SAID DIB
Church of God
Life Center, Bourj Hammoud