Recently, during a meeting with the staff of a local organization we work with here in Lebanon, we were reminded that sometimes miracles take time.
Life in Lebanon, as well as in other countries around the world, is full of challenges. Our direct work here in this beautiful country is within an urban neighborhood in the metro area of Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon. The neighborhood here faces injustice, social disparity, poverty, lack of education, racial and religious segregation, unemployment, corruption, violence and abuse, and shortage of dreams and opportunities for children and youth.
We serve the community with hope to see transformation. However, it is easy to look around and see all the obstacles and barriers, which seem unsurpassable. Day in and day out people struggle to make a daily living. Thoughts for a better and brighter future are a luxury that many in this community cannot afford. Discouragement, complaints, and lack of motivation surround and dominate people. Change does not come easily or quickly. Yet, as we work and serve this community, we are reminded we do it living by faith; confident in what we hope for and certain in what we don’t see…yet.
Although miracles sometimes take time, we know that they are real, and they keep us and our staff engaged in the mission at hand. Our community center serves the teenage population of Bourj Hammoud. As youth visit the center and participate in different programs, we work with them with the expectation to see God’s work in their lives.
God is at work in the following ways:
1. Even though youth in this community do not dream about graduating from high school, we see potential that they will not only graduate high school but also continue to higher education. Youth come to our education programs without a previous opportunity for education. Through classes and tutoring sessions, they are now learning English, Arabic, math, and computer skills - key subjects that, combined with proper vocational or technical skills, will provide dreams for a better future.
2. Miracles of inner healing, social stability, resilience, and emotional balance are happening in the lives of these youth through our counseling program and group and individual sessions. Youth are given the opportunity to open up and share about personal difficult issues they battle with on a daily basis. A safety net for this vulnerable population is being provided within a community where social or protection services are scarce.
3. The youth are learning to forgive and find ways to preserve peace rather than continuing the trend of attacking and destroying those from different backgrounds. Hate, anger, violence, discrimination, exploitation, and isolation are common experiences for diverse people groups in this neighborhood. Despite the great challenge of changing the worldview for people in this community, youth are learning to accept and work together with others who are different from them.
Change in such a community would truly be a miracle. Seeing these miracles come to fruition will take time. However, we live by faith, trusting that God is still working out His beautiful plans to bless and transform communities with His love and hope.
Want to know more about IDEAS' work in Lebanon? Check out: https://www.ideasworld.org/blog/life-in-lebanon.
About the Author: David is the IDEAS Project Operations Director for Lebanon. He and his family live in Beirut where they participate in community development initiatives with refugees and other marginalized populations. Enjoy David's other blog posts, including: A New Kind of Community in Lebanon.