Lebanon (MNN) — Even as Lebanon faces its worst crisis in 30 years, Horizons International models the hope and the love of Jesus Christ.
Lebanon’s financial crisis might become worse than the 15-year civil war, some now say. Nearly half of all people in Lebanon now live below the poverty line.
Pierre Houssney of Horizons International says, “The economic crises that have been happening could be likened to a tall building, where . . . the top floor caved in. And everybody thought that was the collapse. Then the second to top floor caved in and everybody thought that was the collapse. Then it’s just collapsing more and more every time.”
As people sink below the poverty line, the poverty line itself sinks lower and lower. Local currency has lost almost two-thirds of its value.
The Martyr’s Square, Beirut, in 1982 during the civil war. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Houssney paints a picture of what things look like on the ground in Lebanon. “The cost of food has gone up, so many people who were middle class cannot afford to buy meat or cheese at this time. A lot of the stores have certain products that are not available. You can just see things descending into chaos.”
Houssney says families need multiple salaries to stay afloat, especially since when government-run power cuts out, people have to pay large bills to the mafia-run power generators. Corruption and bribery feed into these sociopolitical problems.
How Horizons International is helping
Houssney says even before things got this bad, the aid Horizons International could provide felt like a drop in the bucket. Now, the organization is severely limited in its budgeting, and many employees are taking half salaries.
And yet, Houssney says they have seen a lot of impact during this time. “People are so spiritually open at this time. We’ve been experiencing amazing spiritual blessings [while] suffering financially, but I would definitely pick this [situation] over thriving financially and not seeing spiritual results.”
The “Old Opera House” on Martyr’s Square, which survived the civil war. Pray for peace and stability to return to Lebanon. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Houssney says people in Lebanon have seen their jobs and financial security melt away. As these props disappear, many have become more interested in who God is and what His story is all about.
How to pray
Houssney encourages Christians to pray that stability and peace will return to Lebanon, and also that people wouldn’t lose their interest in the Gospel.
He also asks Christians to pray about relations between believers during difficult times. At Horizons International, Houssney has seen no complaints despite the difficulties. “I feel very blessed to have a team that has a lot of relational credit with one another. I feel very supported by our local leaders, even in the face of pay cuts.”
Pray that the unity of Christians everywhere would likewise increase.
A 2019 protest in the Martyr’s Square. People in Lebanon have continued to protest as the crisis has worsened. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)