SALHAR and the Future of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

Dateline: Beka’a Valley, Lebanon

I’m traveling the breadth of Lebanon this week, following some of the most inspiring people you’ll ever meet as they do incredible work. The Gospel is going out with Power here, and redeeming people in amazing ways. In turn, our on-the-ground partners have been introducing me to the beautiful people God has placed in front of them. Make sure to spend a few minutes on the Compassion Radio Facebook page to see more pictures and videos of these wonderful folks and ad hoc reports along the way.

Meet Salhar…

I’d like to tell you a little about a friend I made yesterday – Her name is Salhar, and she’s probably about 4 years old. I was walking with Dmitry Bacha who is the YWAM Outreach Program director to two of the Beka’a Valley refugee camps. Salhar made her way right into the middle of the conversation and quietly took my hand.

While I learned all the important info about the scope of the suffering of Syrian refugees and the overwhelming challenges facing them, I was tempted to just take notes and write a report. At least that would stop the anger from welling up inside me.

Salhar wouldn’t let me. She just held my hand and started to lead me down one path, then the next. Amgad, a WorldMission team member from Egypt, helped translate as we went. We walked through groups of young boys with no fathers. We stepped in the middle of a group of women washing clothes in a concrete trough. We ducked under the drying laundry. We passed old men talking slowly with cigarettes dangling from their lips.  She gave them all high fives.

She introduced me to some of them. “Who is this?” They would ask. “My new friend” she would tell them. I asked her where she lived and her eyes lit up. “Would you like to see it?”

“If your momma wouldn’t mind I would love to!”

She led me to a dark maze under tarps stamped with the UNHCR logo. Her mother was too embarrassed to come out to meet me so I just sat at the doorstep and visited with Salhar for a while.

Here’s what I could gather of her story – Salhar and her mother ran from the bombing in Syria as soon as she was big enough to travel on her own feet. It’s not clear how many of her family survive.

All this little girl has known for her entire life is war and refugee camps. And what did she see when yet another Westerner wandered into the dusty maze that is her world? She saw a friend.

This fact reminded me, powerfully, of why Compassion Radio does what it does. Why we go where we go. Not only do suffering people need someone to love them and demonstrate the love of Christ in practical ways. It’s beyond obvious that this is what they need. But there’s more: In a world frightened of them, they need real friends. And, as she reminded me, l needed Salhar’s friendship.

God is so good that way.

I’ll wager that you want to do something about suffering and hopelessness around the world. We’ll keep you in touch with the people and projects that need our prayer and financial support.  But I’ll wager further that you’d move Heaven and Earth to help your friends through a crisis. Even more so if they were your family.

Well, Salhar is now my friend, and I want to do more than just give her a high five. I want to give her Jesus. Our friends and new partners in Lebanon are doing just that and we’re going to help them in the days ahead. Keep your ears peeled for upcoming programs that describe how that’s happening.

In the meantime, I’m going to ask you for something, and it’s important. As we bring together the Kingdom of God around the World in passionate, faithful service, it’s important to communicate the reality of the need as much as the opportunity before us. The challenges faced by Believers loving others is real. And it’s a real challenge for us to bring you their stories. Both are worthy challenges.

The opportunities presenting themselves to Compassion Radio right now are, frankly, amazing. Simply being here leads to invitation after invitation to ‘Come and See’ what God is doing right now on the frontlines of faith.

I absolutely want to say ‘yes’ to every one of these invitations, and it literally hurts when I have to say ‘no.’ I want to bring you these stories and interviews so that your faith with expand and burst forth in joy and powerful authority. That is our calling.

Will you help us keep doing this very thing? Will you help us stay on the air and in the field bringing you Good News Stories each and every day? We can’t do it without your prayer and support, friends, and we need both right now. Future Compassion Radio Projects – the kinds of things that you have so powerfully supported over the years, can’t an won’t happen if we’re not here to bring you the story. Simple as that.

My predecessors, Wilbur and Norm Nelson both joyfully expected God to meet every need and provide for every ministry opportunity. When it came to specific financial needs, they’d say simply “Pray to the Lord, and tell His People.” They stuck by that formula for 74 years. And He has always inspired our Compassion Radio family to give in exactly the measure needed. I’m counting on the fact that this is still just as true today.

I’m out here finding the Salhars of the world, but really, it’s the Salhars that find us, if we’re willing to go where they are.

And as Norm was fond of saying, I’m also certain of this – the ‘ministry of showing up’ is vitally important. And when you give – I KNOW that God will be pleased… So let us hear from you, today!

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