“Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place…” (2 Chronicles 6:21)

Dear Friends,

The people of Lebanon and other nations throughout the Middle East continue to suffer in various, horrible ways. I invite you to join me this week in praying for them, and the work of our ministry partners there.

Pastor Basile

About Lebanon
With its high literacy rate and traditional mercantile culture, Lebanon has traditionally been an important commercial hub for the Middle East. It has also often been at the centre of Middle Eastern conflicts, despite its small size, because of its borders with Syria and Israel and its uniquely complex communal make-up. Shia Muslims, Sunni Muslims, Christians and Druze are the main population groups in a country that has been a refuge for the region’s minorities for centuries. (14 May 2018. Lebanon Country Profile. www.bbc.com)

Ministry in Lebanon  www.globalministries.org
Benjamin Drolet serves with the Forum for Development, Culture, and Dialogue (FDCD) in Lebanon. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, WOC, OGHS, and your special gifts.

From Mr. Drolet…
As FDCD says on its website, its mission is to “reach an enlightened Arab World, where political views, ethnicities and religions are incorporated into a richly diverse culture of peace and dialogue, respecting and promoting the human rights of all citizens.” It works toward this vision by working at all levels of society, engaging religious and social leaders and mobilizing grassroots action through various strategies. FDCD seeks to help communities understand how faith can be utilized in peace-building rather than weaponized in conflict. Finally, FDCD also responds to the immediate physical needs of communities in Lebanon and Syria through emergency relief and livelihood programs. I assist FDCD is designing, writing, implementing projects in both Lebanon and Syria. I also help plan events which bring together activists, intellectuals, social workers, and social leaders. I feel fortunate that I am able to use English fluency to contribute to FDCD’s mission on a daily basis. I firmly believe that the core message of the gospel calls us to live our faith in ways that bring greater peace and understanding to our world. I am inspired by the many people of faith who challenge others to see their texts, traditions, and values as catalysts for hope. After studying International Relations, I realized that I had a passion for engaging faith in every aspect of my work, whether that be political or developmental. FDCD embodies that link between these sectors and many more and the positive role than faith can play as we seek to impact our communities. It is an ongoing challenge to convince others that dialogue is a necessity in this region, as well as Europe and the United States. Many feel that dialogue does not have the power to change perceptions of “the other.” We are constantly working to show the communities in which we work that dialogue is really the only option, and it dialogue itself does not bring peace, the connections formed within such encounters often lead to collaborative work.

Starting in November 2018, FDCD began implementing a winterization project in Syria in partnership with Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). FDCD received many urgent requests for assistance in the areas of Aleppo, Hama, and rural Damascus as Syrians were preparing for a harsh winter. While food supplies are always an enormous need, families were very concerned about the cold winter ahead and the health of the household, children specifically. This is due to the fact that there are few organizations focused on helping Syrians prepare for winter. We therefore planned to distribute 500 sets of children’s clothes, 400 blankets, and 200 heaters, assisting over 1000 families as colder months approached. FDCD also provided assistance to volunteers helping in distributions, extending the impact of the project.

FDCD identified families in the most desperate situations to receive assistance. These families have expressed deep gratefulness for Global Ministries’ aid and FDCD’s efforts to help them survive the winter months, and during distributions, families thanked volunteers for remembering their challenges. For them, violence may have decreased in recent months, but there are still glaring needs that must be met. They were especially thankful that their children would be kept warm throughout the winter, which affects all areas of life. As young children in rural Damascus and Aleppo, who asked FDCD to thank the UCC and Disciples for their contributions, told our volunteers, “Thank you for the clothes – now we can go to school,” and “Thank you for the heaters – now we can sleep at night.”

A Prayer for Lebanon
By: Benjamin Drolet
God of grace and acceptance, show us how to welcome all we encounter as you have welcomed us into your family. May we receive the newcomers in our communities with open arms as we seek to love the stranger like Jesus. Remind us also of the great needs in our hometowns, as the people closest to us often need care as well. We open our hearts to see each individual as you would see them, looking for ways to show your grace wherever we can.

Master Physician, we look to you as we seek to heal our world from oppression, injustice, and conflict. We see that, even amidst the many challenges facing our world today, there are many hands reaching out and bringing your hope and comfort to those in pain, including those uprooted from their homes or displaced in their own countries as victims of conflict. May we continue to move forward, inspired by the progress we see and determined to bring peace to each of our communities.

We pray for Lebanon and the other countries of the Middle East region, that their leaders would be moved to find peaceful solutions in this evolving context. Would those in power see the inherent value in each human life and work toward societies in which each human life is honored. And would all who seek peace in the region know that your justice will be its foundation. Amen.