Photo: Smoke rises after an explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. Mikhail Alaeddin / Sputnik via AP
As you’ve likely seen, earlier last week there was a massive explosion at the port in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. The death toll is nearly at 160 , and is expected to rise. Many more are missing, and around 6,000 people are injured. Churches in Lebanon are overwhelmed but responding to the vast need.
We urge you to pray for Lebanon and its churches in this extremely difficult time.
The government says the explosion was due to 2,750 tons of poorly stored ammonium nitrate that caught fire. Ammonium nitrate is used to make fertilizer for crops, and was also used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The current theory is that a fire started near the warehouse where the ammonium nitrate was stored, and that led to a the huge blast.
Through partners, Open Doors serves Syrian Christians in Lebanon who were forced to flee their homes because of ISIS or the Syrian Civil War. Lebanon is also crucial for our work inside Syria, and there are often Open Doors field teams in Lebanon. Praise the Lord, none of our fieldworkers present in Lebanon at the time of the blast where injured.
The situation in Lebanon was already tense due to the recent political unrest and economic instability. The blast will only worsen the situation in the country. One of the buildings damaged on the port was a grain elevator where Lebanon stores much of its grain—its destruction will increase food insecurity for everyone. The refugees Open Doors serves are among the most vulnerable groups and will be heavily affected.
While our work isn’t affected directly by the blast, we know that the Syrian Christians our partners serve will be. Additionally, we aren’t yet sure what this means for field teams currently in Lebanon; we are currently assessing what needs to be done to continue to do our work for the refugees and the work in Syria effectively.
Photo: The inhabitants have now started cleaning up their city and the togetherness with which this is done gives new hope. This video came to us yesterday, it shows youngsters swiping the streets.
A local believer said: “Maybe Beirut is physically unrecognizable now but trust me, seeing the youth volunteering and rising up, you will see Beirut in it’s glory. These are the true politicians, ministers, advocates and diplomats.”
Here’s how you can pray:
– Pray for Lebanon and the people of Beirut as they deal with the destruction and death from this explosion.
– Pray for peace and stability as the government tries to navigate the crisis. Pray that corruption would not impact the ability of officials to deliver aid, and the most vulnerable people would be taken care of.
– Pray for the Christian community in Beirut. Early reports suggest a Christian section of the city was heavily affected by the blast. Pray for believers there.
– Pray for the churches in Beirut as they come alongside people who are injured and mourning. Pray the church in Lebanon—of all denominations—would be a source of comfort and peace to the people of Beirut.
– Pray for the Syrian Christian refugees who may see a dip in help because of the explosion.
– Please pray for wisdom for our fieldworkers as they seek wisdom to decide how to proceed. Pray for our work to be able to continue.