Southern Baptists Aid Lebanese Christian and Muslim Refugees

August 10, 2006

Source: Baptist Press

On August 10, 2006 Baptist Press reported, "The frightened, protective Muslim mother finally agreed to let Christian medical workers take her sick 2-year-old daughter to the hospital. 'If you send me with one of your people, I am ready to go with her,' the Shiite woman told the Christians at Beirut Baptist School, where she has found shelter for her family from the fighting that raged near her home. Then, from behind the black veil that completely covered her face, she quietly spoke these words: 'Please, pray for my daughter.' Amid the darkness and suffering of war, a ray of light is shining in Lebanon. For weeks, Lebanese Baptists and other Christians have been housing, feeding—and loving—hundreds of mostly Shiite Muslim families driven from their homes in Beirut’s southern suburbs and towns farther south by the battles between Hezbollah guerrillas and the Israeli military. During normal times, the two groups might never encounter one another, much less form friendships, in Lebanon’s uneasy mix of religious and ethnic factions. But these aren’t normal times. While Lebanese Baptists help refugees in Beirut, Southern Baptists in the region are channeling nearly $50,000 in aid to Lebanese Christians to provide food, medicine, blankets and other supplies to families fleeing the fighting in the south. Baptists in Israel also are assisting people in need in northern Israel, where Hezbollah rockets continue to fall. Up to 750,000 Lebanese have been displaced by the war so far. Many of them have flooded into hundreds of schools and other temporary shelters—including the Beirut Baptist School and the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Beirut. Some 1,000 refugees are living at the two schools until they can return to their homes. 'We are fully packed right now,' said Nabil Costa, director of the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (also known as the Lebanese Baptist Society). 'We cannot take anyone more, and yet we squeeze more in. But we are happy serving all those people.'"