Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve Jones here… I’ve just returned from a trip to Lebanon where two Fellowship International missionary families are serving. Let me share about this recent visit.
I traveled with a team from Canada hosted by Fellowship International missionary Bechara Karkafi. The team included Pastor Rick Buck (Emmanuel, Barrie, ON), Dr. Kent Anderson (Northwest Baptist Seminary, BC), Richard McGowan (Emmanuel International) and Fredhi Choueir.
We had the joy of visiting Karim and Rita Anayssi, Fellowship International missionaries in Beirut, Lebanon. The Anayssis, sent by Willowdale Baptist (Toronto, ON) in 2012, serve as Executive Director ofCedar Home, an orphanage for girls. Currently, they’re caring for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of 26 girls between the ages of 4-14. Along with their two daughters, they live as a family with the Cedar Home girls and a small staff. The home is located in a four-storey building in a safe area in Beirut. Upon arrival in 2012 only 1.5 stories of the building were complete. However, with support through our FAIR ministry and other outside help, three-stories are now complete with only one remaining to be finished. Cedar Home is looking for partner churches to come alongside the ministry to complete this construction and send short-term ministry teams to minister with the girls.
Many of the girls are from Muslim backgrounds with a recent influx of Syrian refugee orphans. The home’s program includes spiritual training and weekly involvement in a local church. Karim reported some of their girls have come to Christ. What a wonderful opportunity for Fellowship churches to partner with Karim and Rita as they care for orphans by sending either construction or ministry teams.
Our group travelled within Beirut and through the North and Eastern regions of the country observing different ministries. Our visit to three ministries to Syrian refugees was a highlight.
In Beirut we visited the Clementia Learning Centre (CLC) operating out of the Adonis Baptist Church. They teach, feed and share Christ with Syrian refugee children whose families live in the area—in cramped apartments, tents and even under stairwells. I’m looking forward to FAIR’s Fall appeal which will support this ministry to Syrian refugee children.
To the North of Lebanon, in Adre, we visited Pastor Michel Sowan and the Word and Deed Christian Centre. This relief ministry is operated by six Baptist churches that care for the needs (food, dental, medical, vocational training and ESL) of hundreds of Syrian refugee families. Our team visited on-site with five refugee families: bringing care packages, sharing the Gospel and praying for them.
We traveled east, close to the Syrian border, to visit a relief ministry run by a Baptist church that cares for 650 Syrian children. One couple who serves in this ministry is currently in process to come to Canada to serve on staff with one of our Fellowship churches. We hope to see more Fellowship churches welcome church planting couples to plant Arab-speaking churches in cities and towns throughout Canada. For more information, contact Bechara Karkafi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our team hosted a conference attended by 50 denominational leaders, where we met new friends and discussed potential future partnerships. We visited Dr. Basem, a Member of Parliament in Lebanon who had great insight into the geo-political struggles of Lebanon and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
We visited a relief centre in Beirut where the Gospel was shared to Syrian and Iraqi refugees with 18 individuals coming forward to receive Christ! Two of our team members visited with two “secret cell” groups of Christians and Muslim-seekers where they shared the Gospel and prayed for the members. There are 18 of these cell groups which were formed in recent months and are rapidly multiplying under the leadership of two individuals. The spiritual hunger is clearly evident all around!
Please Pray for the Fellowship Ministry to the Arab World
Fellowship International desires to help our churches send missionaries and develop ministry partnerships within this spiritually needy region. Bechara is serving as our “ambassador” to this region, seeking to connect us in partnership with like-minded disciple-making movements. He hopes to take other interested pastors and Christian leaders on brief tours to help Fellowship churches and potential missionaries connect with countries in the MENA region.
Contact Bechara (email@example.com) or Fellowship International Director Dave Marttunen (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you desire more information.
Have a blessed week,