Displaying items by tag: Beirut explosion
Pastor Said Deeb, in Beirut, had a strange feeling on the day of the explosion. ‘ I felt something bad was going to happen,’ Deeb explained, ‘as if the Holy Spirit was saying, “Go! Go! Go!”’ He was uneasy, sent 34 staff home, and cancelled Bible classes for 200 children. ‘They thought I had lost my mind, but it was the Holy Spirit's prompting’, he explained. Then the unthinkable happened - 200+ people dead, 7,000 injured, and 300,000 made homeless. ‘I thought this was the end, but the Lord had another plan. Despite the horror of Beirut’s deadly explosion, God is bringing something good from the ashes. I'm seeing people come to Jesus like never before, never! - and a big number of priests coming to deeper faith, priests coming for the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the signs and wonders following. So it's the time for Lebanon.’
On 4 August 2020, a large amount of ammonium nitrate stored at the port of the city of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, exploded, causing 181 deaths, 6,000 injuries, 10-15 billion US dollar in property damage, and leaving an estimated 300,000 people homeless.
How is the Church faring in the midst of this horrible disaster?
Pierre Houssney of Horizons International says that when the government stepped down, the church stepped up. “Many Lebanese are ashamed of the way their government has failed to respond in any way to the explosion. It was like anarchy. But we could not be prouder of the Church, because churches almost instantly hit the ground.”
These churches, who have already been helping Syrian refugees in the country for years, immediately sent out teams to help clean up and distribute medical supplies and humanitarian aid. They also pray with people. “It's incredibly impactful and glorifying to Jesus,” says Houssney.
Many other Christian ministries are also answering the challenge.
Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS), located in the mountains overlooking Beirut, was spared the worst of the emanating shockwaves. Having lost its students due to Covid-19, it had already opened its dormitories to frontline health workers. Now, in cooperation with the ‘Our Home, Your Home’ ministry, the seminary is welcoming a fraction of the 300,000 Lebanese displaced from their homes.
Resurrection Church of Beirut had many member families suffer damage to their homes. It has organized a furniture drive, and sent volunteers downtown to clean up the mess - for their community, and others. “Now is the time for the wounded church to rise again and be a healing agent of God’s restoring presence in a practical and caring way,” said pastor Hikmat Kashouh.
Lighthouse Arab World is temporarily shifting its media ministry to facilitate help to those on the street. Near East Organization was able to feed 250 people, aiming to continue this service for as long as needed.
Camille Melki heads up Heart for Lebanon, which began serving Lebanese displaced by the Israeli invasion in 2006, and now ministers to Syrian refugees. Their 60 volunteers have split into 5 teams to secure homes and clear broken glass. “It’s a mess. It’s a total mess,” he said. “But they have to be made safe to be lived in again.”
In times of calamity, even the wounded must keep serving. Abbas Sibai, multi-area projects coordinator with World Vision Lebanon, crawled under the fallen wall that had smashed against his back in the blast. He was hospitalized for his injuries, but is still pitching in. World Vision is putting together a fundraising campaign for food, medicine, and housing supplies, as its Beirut warehouse was severely damaged in the explosion.
SAT-7, a Christian satellite television broadcaster based in the Middle East, turned out to be a lifeline in the current storm. In the aftermath of the blast, thousands have been turning to the channel for reassurance and hope. “For those anxious and traumatized, we connect with professional counselors, offering balm for the troubled mind; with the grieving, we weep; with those on the edge of suicide, we pray and share the Hope of the world, Jesus Christ,” says Maroun Bou Rached, the executive director of SAT-7 in Lebanon. “As we mourn as a nation, we will be there every hour, every day - standing with our neighbors who are hurting, and those who ask: ‘Where is God in all this?’ By God's grace, Lebanon will rise from the dust and ashes to breathe again.”
The International Prayer Council called on Christians around the world to pray for a well-coordinated relief response, for the rioting and violence to stop and for God’s peace and order to prevail, for the healing of the nation as it is deeply wounded, for the church to rise up and fulfill its purpose and be a light in the midst of darkness, and for the economic recovery of Lebanon.
Two Lebanese ministries, Triumphant Mercy Lebanon and Witness as Ministry offered their channels for humanitarian support. They provide meals and medicine to vulnerable displaced people, help with boarding up busted windows and doors, and do street and home cleanups.
Source: Horizons International, ABTS, CT, Heart for Lebanon, World Vision, SAT-7, IPC, Triumphant Mercy Lebanon
More at: www.joelnews.org
To support the ongoing relief efforts through IPC's verified contacts on the ground in Beirut, see:
Triumphant Mercy Lebanon - https://tm-lebanon.com/
Witness as Ministry - www.wamcares.org/
Here are some prayer concerns that people close to the situation there in Beirut have shared.
Let’s pray specifically for:
1. For a well-coordinated relief response and that both the local and international NGOs will cooperate and work together in a synergistic manner to provide rapid and effective assistance.
2. The healing of the nation as it is deeply wounded and that the church will rise and fulfill its purpose and be a light in the midst of darkness.
3. For the rioting and violence to stop and for God’s peace and order to prevail.
4. That the Islamic agenda will not be able to be implemented.
5. For an independent judicial system that is not under political power so that corruption could be judged.
6. For the economic situation in Lebanon to be resolved and Lebanon to become prosperous again.
7. That the promises of God for Lebanon (being transformed in a moment into a fertile field) will be fulfilled.
8. That the many Syrian refugees who are in Lebanon will be able to go back home.
See the PrayerCast Video on Lebanon: www.prayercast.com/lebanon.html
Christians in Beirut have responded with defiance amid reports that groups seeking to profit from the devastating explosion are trying to persuade them to sell up and leave. 300,000 families were displaced by the 4 August blast. Monsignor Toufic Bou-Hadir, who works with the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), described how people are opting to keep their damaged homes rather than accept offers to sell their properties. ACN is providing emergency aid for victims of the blast. He said, ‘There are people trying to profit from this catastrophe by buying land and homes from the Christians. Christians want to stay in their close Christian community. Old and young are staying in their homes, even ones that are damaged.’ Beirut’s Christian districts bore the brunt of the explosion, and church leaders are working with politicians to frustrate land-grabbers by passing legislation preventing the faithful from selling their homes.
In Beirut Said Deeb is a pastor working at a centre which runs children’s clubs and provides food to refugees. He doesn't know why he did it, but on the day of the explosion he told everyone to go home and get some rest because he was worried about coronavirus. There are normally 34 people and 240 children at the centre each day. He said, ‘I thank God no one was here; if there had been here they would be dead because the windows flew from the side, from one wall to another wall, and took everything in between - the curtains, the air conditioning, the tables, the computers, the televisions.’
Following the devastating explosion in Beirut last week, on 11 August prime minister Hassan Diab resigned. A professor of sociology has said, ‘Lebanon is facing the most dangerous moment in its history. The options are grim. If there isn't a serious will from the international community to create strong structural changes in Lebanon, we are going towards civil war. There is no alternative. It's very unfortunate to say that in this country we don't believe there is rock bottom any more.’ What a new Lebanon would look like nobody knows, but getting there will not be easy. The country is entering a period of political darkness. Protesters want root and branch reform. The state of emergency declared on 5 August brought the army onto the streets to prevent freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and freedom of the press. They also can now enter homes and arrest anyone deemed a security threat. Pray for corruption-free candidates to stand for selection in a completely safe and authentic change of leadership election.
The only Arabic Christian television broadcaster in Lebanon is airing special live programming, reassuring shell-shocked viewers after the huge Beirut explosion on 4 August. The next day, SAT-7 broadcast a special Arabic-language programme - the Pain and Hope. Local Christian leaders Rev Dr Hikmat Kashouh and Dr Nabil Costa offered reassurance to viewers, and prayed live on air for the families of those killed in the explosion, for those who are missing, and for the injured. Christian TV programmes will continue to provide a platform for grieving and traumatised viewers in Lebanon to find comfort and seek prayer in the disaster aftermath, while continuing to minister to a country beset by political strife, economic collapse, hunger, and social unrest. Lebanese people are looking for others to stand with them grief and in prayer in the wake of this catastrophe. Christian broadcasting offers genuine hope.
Beirut rescue operations continue following a massive explosion on 4 August, causing indescribable damage in a mostly Christian part of the city. The death toll is currently 137 with 5,000 injured. Totals are expected to rise. Ask God to disperse the trauma covering the area and for a spirit of healing to be released. Beirut is in a two-week state of emergency. Pray for God’s enabling strength for rescuers searching for hundreds of people still missing. May they find survivors, not bodies. Pray for comfort for those mourning the dead and for those still waiting for news of the missing. Pray for the 300,000 homeless people currently in shock with no shelter. May there be a united effort by the international community to organise medical supplies, food, shelter, beds, clothes, manpower and financial aid for structure repairs. Amnesty International called for international investigations into the blast that are ‘free from domestic political interference’, to ensure ‘truth, justice, and reparations for victims.’
Following the huge explosion in Beirut on 4 August, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is sending an emergency food package worth £226,000 from the UK. The Christian quarter of the city was the worst affected by deaths and damage, so the bishops, the clergy, and the lay faithful asked ACN for assistance. Christian communities, churches and other buildings are going to need a lot of repair. At least ten churches and immeasurable livelihoods were destroyed by the blast. In one second, more damage was done to this area of Beirut than throughout the long years of the civil war. It will have to be built again from the ground up. John Pontifex from ACN said, ‘We call on Jesus to bring healing and to bring a sense of reconciliation because in so many ways this particular explosion has drawn attention to the problems of government and accusations of neglect at the very least. There's a whole sense of healing needed at every level and a chance to rebuild. So literally, the call should be, Lord, help us rebuild, help us recover, help us find a new way to get through this terrible, terrible time.’
The explosion in Lebanon has reignited fears among Sydney residents where a huge chemical plant sits within three kilometres of the Sydney central business district (CBD). Residents have been demanding for years that the stockpile, four times larger than Beirut’s, should be moved away from the CBD and surrounding suburbs. Explosives expert Tony Richards said it is worth noting that plants used to produce and store ammonium nitrate and other explosive chemicals are not uncommon. There are thousands of facilities just like Beirut’s in Texas, Paris, and other places.