Spiritual revival is taking place in the midst of the Syrian crisis, a Lebanese Baptist leader recently told missions partners at the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
“God is doing great things in the midst of a great crisis,” said Nabil Costa, executive director of the Lebanese Baptist Society. “The church is in revival in Syria. We are able to reach people we never dreamt of before.”
As conflict escalates in Syria, many flee to neighboring countries to escape the crossfire. In spite of the dangerous situation, God is bringing good out of suffering, Costa insisted.
“God is at work. He is for all nations, and a lot of good news is coming from the Middle East,” he said.
Through Texas Baptists’ Partnership Missions ministry and the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, the BGCT has allocated funds to provide aid to Syrian refugees fleeing their homes and finding help in Lebanon. Texas Baptists’ disaster recovery also sent funds to help refugees in Turkey.
At one checkpoint, between 7,000 and 8,000 refugees each day are crossing from Syria into Lebanon. Tears filled Costa’s eyes as he described the desperation in the faces of the refugees, seeking help and hope.
“You cannot help but cry when you see them,” he said. “When you see the kids and how they are doing, when you see how they are living … it is a tragedy. This is the reality.”
Providing blankets, food, shelter
Thanks to partnerships with Texas Baptists and other Christians, the Lebanese Baptist Society is able to provide blankets, food, shelter and medicine to refugees—and share the hope of Christ with them.
“Fortunately or unfortunately, it seems persecution is the only way for the church to shine,” Costa said. “It is the only way for us to appreciate our salvation and share it with others. Right now, through persecution in Syria, there are many people coming to know (Christ).”
Christians in Lebanon are receiving great blessings through helping their neighbors, he added.
“We are growing in his grace,” he said. “All the generosity from our Lord is passing through us. After we receive it in us, we are passing it on to others.”
In recent months, Texas Baptists have expanded involvement and investment in Lebanon, said Steve Seaberry, director of Texas Partnerships. Through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, Lebanese and Syrian families are receiving calves to help feed and provide for their households.
Additional funds will provide education to Syrian children who are living in refugee camps. Providing education to those who have lost so much will have a long-lasting impact, he noted.
While the future may seem uncertain to many, Costa and those he works with are able to share eternal hope with each person they encounter.
“My prayer for Syrian refugees is not to lose hope,” Costa said. “My prayer is to remember and know that God is in control, even if we pass through difficult times. We have to know and believe that God is changing all these difficult situations into opportunities where we can know him. To do this, we need faith. In general, our faith is weak. Pray for us and for those refugees, for God to strengthen our faith in him through difficult times.”