RUKBAN – Situated at the far northeastern corner of the border berm between Syria and Lebanon, Rukban is an arid desert site that is home to more than 50,000 Syrian refugees.
Heart for Lebanon, a faith-based NGO headquartered in Black Mountain, North Carolina, is committed to helping refugees in Lebanon in what the United Nations has called the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.
The total number of Syrian refugees is in the millions. Half of them are children. These people camped out in the open desert, are at risk of starvation and malnutrition as the winter months approach. According to AP News, at least four people in Rukban died during the month of October due to malnutrition and lack of medical care.
The Rukban refugees have become political pawns. Because they are in the demilitarized zone, supplies they have been promised are often prevented from reaching them. One refugee said,
“It’s like telling someone dying of thirst to wait for the rain. How long are we going to wait?”
The Syrian refugees are caught in a complex ‘Catch-22′ situation. Food, warm clothing, and medical care are in short supply. Sadly, “government officials and other officials of the UN and the World Food Bank really want to put the pressure on them to go back home” because both the UN and the World Food Bank are “in bad shape financially.” But the refugees have no home to return to. They are where they are because they have nowhere else to go.
Heart for Lebanon cannot meet all the needs of all the refugees in Rukban, but it can minister to them as the Lord supplies.
The faith-based NGO uses a three-point strategy to aid the refugees.
- They offer humanitarian aid and education, addressing the physical needs of the refugees and education for their children.
- They offer relational engagement, building relationships through home visits, faith-based programs, and children’s activities.
- They offer reconciliation by leading refugees into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Sharing the unconditional love of Christ draws refugees to Him because His kind of love is unfamiliar to them. There are 99 attributes of God in Islam. Not one of them is love.
When they experience compassion without strings attached, they question why anyone would give so freely without the expectation of anything in return.
That’s when the Holy Spirit opens the door to their heart and they long to know the greatest need in their life, Jesus Christ.
Pray with us for the work of Heart for Lebanon. Be sure to thank the Lord for how He is using their ministry.
To read more news on the Refugee Crisis on Missions Box, go here.
- World Food Program USA, 10 Facts About the Syrian Refugee Crisis in Jordan
- Heart for Lebanon, Hope Delivered in the Midst of Despair
- Mission Network News, Winter threatens refugees stranded between Syria and Jordan
- AP News, Thousands of Syrians stuck in the desert risk starvation
- U.S. Department of State [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons