Located 55 kilometres east of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, is Bekka Valley, where most of the Syrian refugees take refuge. It is estimated that out of the 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, about one million reside here.
To serve this deluge of displaced people, refugee centres sprang up all over the Bekka Valley, with this particular NGO being the first to arrive six years ago. This particular NGO currently serves about 300 families with over a thousand refugees. I was blessed to be given the opportunity to serve these refugees in the community centre during my stay in Lebanon.
Early in the morning, the children would come to school, where they are taught Arabic, Mathematics, Social Ethics, Health Education and of course, about Jesus.
In the afternoons, some teachers will travel deep into the refugee camps to hold classes for the children who stay too far away to travel to the school. At the community centre, classes for female refugees are held on subjects such as health and the bible. Twice a week, workers with another NGO, will help conduct soccer training for the young boys at the refugee camps.
In the evenings, we travel from tent to tent, visiting the families of the children attending the school. It is during this time that we truly connect with the refugees, hearing their stories and struggles and encouraging them with the Word. I felt that my trip there coincided with the season of harvest; the refugees were very receptive to the message and responding to become followers of Jesus. They were seeking to understand the full extent of the gospel, and what it means to be a Christian.
Never before have I seen such converts – armed with a thorough knowledge of the gospel, willingly praying the sinner’s prayer and surrendering their lives to Christ. During my time in Lebanon, I witnessed four families coming to faith. That was 28 souls entering the kingdom. Wow! What a rejoicing in heaven for each of these precious ones. Each time a refugee chooses Christ, a miracle unfolds before my eyes. They know the risk of persecution and ostracism from their community when they make the decision, yet they pray wholeheartedly for Christ to enter their lives.
Reflecting on those moments, I can’t help but praise God. Just a decade ago, Syrians were classified as one of the hardest groups to reach out to. Today, they seem to be ready for change. Truly, He has softened their hearts. Indeed, as Matthew 9:37 beckons us, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few”.
Will we be His labourers in this season of harvest?