You know how you can meet some people and they can have such a profound impact on you that you just know you’ll never forget them? I had one of those experiences when I was in Lebanon recently with a man called Bassam.

Bassam is a Lebanese Pastor in the middle of downtown Beruit, He used to be an award winning insurance salesman and we met up in a non-descript apartment building in the heart of the city one cold winters morning. As he ushered me into the apartment and offered me a seat at the table I noticed there were about 10 other people around the table with me – all Syrian refugees. Bassam took the lead.

”Most Lebanese people hate Syrian people – even if they are Christian because we were at war for 30 years. Personally, I’ve had many bad incidents with them including a Syrian putting a gun to my head. Yet somehow God has changed all the bad feelings to love. In the morning when I wake up I want nothing to do but come to this apartment, because this is our church. The Syrian refugee crisis brings to life the verse what does it mean to “love our enemy”. I know from personal experience that it’s not by speaking, it’s when Jesus fills your heart with his love."

"When Syrians come to our church I tell them two things. Firstly, I want to help you but I need to tell you that we will make mistakes. No one’s taught us how to serve Syrian refugees. You came suddenly and we were not prepared. Secondly, if you want our church to help you, you must help yourselves. And I will help anyone who wants to find a job, to find a job. Our church also comes alongside them by providing mattresses, blankets, food vouchers, hygiene items, milk and diapers. We also provide cooked meals three nights a week. We are constantly reassessing vulnerability to make sure we are reaching the most vulnerable. We work with who we know and so because we are all living in this community, we know who really needs our support."

"I know God’s done something in my life because sometimes when I’m in the cinema relaxing I’ll find myself thinking of these people. At first, I used to think I was helping these people, but then I found out that they are really helping me. They are praying for me. I am blessed because of them. Our church is currently helping more than 100 families every month and we’ve been doing it for four years. My phone has 8053 contacts and even though I don’t remember all the names and all the numbers I do remember the stories and the families."

"I’ve seen that when God puts someone in my way that he wants me to take care of, he gives me the heart to do it. Jesus is passing by here these days. ”

I think the reason Pastor Bassam meant so much to me was because he seemed to personify the verse in the Bible that talks about being the hands and feet of Jesus. Tears fell as he spoke of the love he’s developed for the people group he once hated. One by one each refugee around the table testified to how God was using this church to reach them in their time of greatest need.  There was not a dry eye in that apartment that day. I still think about him now. Bet you his phone contacts are over 9000.


Check out these interviews with Lebanese pastors, including Pastor Bassam, as they share their heart for serving Syrian refugee families.



Want to get involved with our Christmas Campaign, Room at the Inn, and help Syrian refugees? You can donate here, or order church resources here.


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