Shortly after the recent Israel-Hezbollah war broke out, Riad Kassis, the head of the J. L. Schneller School, a 146-year-old evangelical Christian institution in West Beqaa, Lebanon, wrote an internet commentary appealing to Western readers: "Imagine being forced to suddenly leave your home. Imagine that you do not know when you will return home and are unsure whether you will find a heap of rubble instead of a sweet home."

The subsequent conflict killed 1,300 Lebanese and 160 Israelis, and wounded thousands more. But after missiles and rockets stopped in August, Lebanese Christians realized the bloody conflict had renewed their deep commitment to the displaced. Habib Badr, pastor of the National Evangelical Church and perhaps Lebanon's most recognizable evangelical, told Christianity Today that his church's four schools took in 1,000 refugees. "We hope we were good witnesses of the love of God to those displaced." Dozens of Christian congregations in Lebanon welcomed displaced people and others in Jordan and Syria provided aid.

On the Spiritual Offensive

Lebanese Christians, during and after the conflict, opened their lives in an unprecedented way. Nabil Costa, who heads the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development, said, "This war was like a wake-up call. It completely changed our agenda and showed us that God has a different vision for us."

"When the war started, at first we complained about our summer vacation," Costa admitted. "As things got more serious, we asked: How could this be happening when Lebanon was finally booming after years of civil war and Syrian domination?"

Costa said that although he and other evangelicals in Lebanon were taught they ought to love everyone, they felt they had been looking ...

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Christianity Today
'They Know We Are Christians'
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October 2006

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