Amid a yearlong crippling financial collapse followed by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lebanon has experienced yet another devastating blow—an explosion. A ship docked at the Beirut port, filled with ammonium nitrate, exploded at approximately 6 p.m. on Tuesday, August 4. The blast ripped through the capital city of Beirut, blowing out windows and leveling buildings. To date, more than 150 people have been killed, 5,000 injured, countless missing under the rubble, and 300,000 are now homeless. It is estimated that the losses are between $10–15 billion. While authorities are investigating it appears that the blast was a result of a terrible accident rather than an act of aggression in the tenuous region.
In the midst of the devastation emotions are at their boiling point—yet God is present. He is not caught off guard by the many challenges facing Lebanon. He is well acquainted with their suffering and placed laborers in the region to be the hands and feet of Jesus for such a time as this. Stonebriar Community Church has the honor of supporting several individuals and agencies who are actively meeting the needs of the suffering in Lebanon.
- Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS) was founded in 1960 to equip servant-leaders for the ministry challenges in the Middle East and North Africa through theology, apologetics, communication, pastoral care, ethics, society, and culture. Their mission is to “serve the Church in our region as it realizes its biblical mission of having Christ acknowledged as Lord by offering specialized learning resources and equipping faithful men and women for effective service.” Elie Haddad, President of ABTS, so eloquently states, “We get to experience the provisions of God on a daily basis. God brings into this web of ministry global partners who empower us, enable us, and join us in this mission. What an encouragement it is to be part of God’s global network coming together to accomplish His mission. God is raising His church to be His witness in the most unlikely place at the most unlikely time. To Him be all glory, honor, and praise!”
- Charlie Costa is a missionary with the Baptist Missionary Association of America and serves as the senior pastor of Ras Beirut Baptist Church in Beirut, Lebanon. Charlie is also the pastor of Insight for Living Arabic and the voice of Nafitha Ala l’Hayat, the Arabic-language broadcast of Insight for Living Ministries. He also serves as a magistrate for the Family Court of the Evangelical Community in Lebanon, is a published author, and is supervising editor for translating Chuck Swindoll’s books into the Arabic language.
- Caleb and Nicolette Hutcherson are WorldVenture missionaries who have been serving in Beirut, Lebanon, since 2008. The Hutchersons are working in partnership with Ras Beirut Baptist Church, an evangelical church in the heart of Beirut with a long history of ministry to those living in Lebanon and its neighboring countries. Nicolette is the director of Safe Haven Society, which runs a home for abused and disadvantaged girls from all over Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. She also leads several children’s programs at a sister church for Syrian and Iraqi refugees. In addition to ministry with the church, Caleb teaches at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary just outside Beirut.
- Tahaddi Lebanon is a Lebanese non-governmental organization which offers holistic support to families facing extreme economic hardship by providing education, health and psychosocial services. Tahaddi’s centers are located in the impoverished informal settlement of Hay el Gharbeh, which is in Southern Beirut. Their programs prioritize vulnerable Lebanese families, including members of the Dom ethnic minority, as well as Syrian refugees, migrants, and other stateless populations irrespective of nationality, religion, or social background.
- Al Goff is the President and CEO of UNTO, the humanitarian aid arm of Cru. Al has been active in community development, disaster response, and relief work for over 15 years. For several years Al served as a regional humanitarian director and crisis manager for Cru, operating from Paris, France.
Our missionary partners have immersed themselves in serving those directly affected by the explosion in a variety of practical ways:
- Arab Baptist Theological Seminary has prepared their guest house and student living facilities to house families who lost their homes in the explosion. Several sister ministries are coming alongside ABTS to provide linens, hygiene packages, food and mobile washing machines.
- Charlie Costa through Ras Beirut Baptist Church members are spending their days helping those closer to the blast site with clean up, food and water distribution and prayer support.
- The Hutcherson’s are involved in efforts with ABTS, Ras Beirut Baptist Church, and Safe Haven Society to help those affected by the explosion with housing, rebuilding, medical care, and food aid.
- Tahaddi Lebanon is providing for urgent medical services and emergency assistance for food and rent.
- UNTO is providing critical emergency relief such as food, medicine, hygiene items, and other critical supplies through their partnerships on the ground in the region. The relationships built during this difficult time will open doors to share the eternal hope of Jesus.
There are many practical ways we can support our brothers and sisters in Lebanon during these challenging times. Stonebriar will be providing financial support to each of our ministry partners through contributions made to the Disaster Relief Fund— https://stonebriar.onlinegiving.org/donate/. You will initially see “General Fund,” so you will need to select “Disaster Relief” from the fund drop-down menu. This fund is not designated for a particular person, group, or event but used at our discretion to relieve suffering as large scale needs arise.
You may also wish to donate directly to our partners in the region:
Thank you for your generosity of time through prayer and resources to love our neighbors both across the street and around the world.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea . . .” (Psalm 46:1–2, NIV)