This month on the blog we will be profiling the stories and work of several national workers from our ministry partner, The Free Evangelical Association of Lebanon. FEAL works to bring holistic transformation to the Middle East and North Africa Region. We begin with Robert, a national worker in Beirut whose work with refugees was profiled in our short film “Trapped in Transition.”
Robert was raised in Lebanon during a time when the country was experiencing a civil war that would leave the country torn apart decades later. When the conflict started, he was 13 years old. At the time he did not understand that violent conflict would become his reality for the 15 years. In the early days of the war he describes his feelings and those of his siblings and friends as being joyful; “We had seen people using guns on TV, and now we have the chance to use them ourselves.” However, as the war went on it began to dawn on him and his friends that what they were living was a horrible reality and not a joyful experience.
“I was brought up in a Christian family but we knew nothing about Christ.”
After years of fighting, Robert became disillusioned with the conflict. While he was raised in Christian home he did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Spiritually unsettled and tired of the violence, Robert remembers going into a garden and crying out to God, “if this is the life what you gave us, I do not want it!” God heard Robert’s cries that night and he shared that on that very night, God spoke to him through a dream, saying “I will show you a new life.” As Robert became more involved in the Church he began to understand the love the His saviour had for him. he felt an intense calling to serve others, just as Christ did.
Now working with the Free Evangelical Association of Lebanon, Robert is responsible for the refugee work being done within the city of Beirut. He is heavily involved in running the Oasis Saturday program for refugee women and children and throughout the week he takes the time to make in-home visits to the families that attend. He has earned the trust of the local community and is able enter their homes. While meeting with the families he not only offers encouragement and support, but takes note of what their physical needs are. When he returns, he brings supplies to help the families. He is a kind and humble man that has dedicated his to serving others in a Christ-like way.
To the people that he works with, Robert is a protector and hero. Refugees are ostracized in Lebanon, with many remarking that the local Lebanese seem “annoyed with us.” They are surprised by the unconditional love that Robert, and workers like him, demonstrate to them, to which Robert joyously responds, “it is because God loved us first!”
Robert remarks about his life journey, “I started helping other people after God touched my heart. The old Robert died, now it’s the new Robert.”
Watch Robert and other FEAL National Workers in our latest short film: