by Eric Hamp
Lebanon is mentioned seventy one times in the Holy Bible, which tells me that this country and its people are important to God. I had the opportunity to visit last month and now I know why! This country is beautiful and you can see the awesome hand of God in the creation. From the stunning beaches of the Mediterranean Sea, to the grotto caves which have been nominated as one of the new seven wonders of the world, to the welcoming people of Lebanon.
I was invited to attend the Global Children’s Ministries Conference in Beirut and decided to go only if I could do some additional ministry and training while I was there. I connected with the leadership of Gran De Ble, Raja Achi and Youeel Tarabay and we began to make plans. Youeel was a most gracious host and he coordinated a training seminar with leaders from all over Beirut, Syria, Jordan and even Iraq. After the GCMC, I and a few other trainers stayed for another week to minister to the people of Beirut, and here is our story:
Sunday Morning, I had the great joy of preaching at the Christ Evangelical Baptist Church, they packed the building that morning coming hungry for a word from the Lord. After Lebanese praise and worship, I was introduced and ministered a sermon on “spiritual warfare” and then prayed for people as our Heavenly Father touched them in a special way. The pastors then took me to the most awesome restaurant I have ever gone to, Manuela’s. We actually sat outside on the sea and had the most food I have ever eaten!
Monday through Wednesday were training days, each morning we would come down to the cafeteria of the convent we stayed in, Our Lady of the Well, Notre Dame Du Puit which was a wonderful accommodation overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Breakfast was interesting, Greek olives, raw whole cucumbers, tomatoes, flatbread, cheese, cream cheese, and candied fruit, but it hit the spot!
Then the first crew, Dale VonSeggen, Joe, Matt and Bob would go to the Just for Kids center and train teams in puppetry, magic, drama and storytelling for about 6 hours and then the evening crew of Gary Strudler, Ruth Jordan, Karen Neumann and myself conducted two hour “project training” for the folks on creative object lessons, learning styles, prayer and more. The people from the city were so hungry for training on how to reach the children. With the project training, we would teach them and then they would work together on an assignment to complete along the lines of what they had learned.
We did have a day of sightseeing and shopping, which was wonderful. Bob took us to the Jeita Grotto Caves, which was a spectacular cavern with the most amazing formations (check it out here www.jeitagrotto.com ).
The highlight of my trip was on the last day when I had the privilege to do a chapel service at a private school, where the majority of the students come from Muslim families and I was able to present the gospel to them through games, object lessons and storytelling. I did one service with over 300 children and it went so well, they asked if I would do a second one with another 300+ children. I said yes, of course! Â I invited the children to make Jesus the Lord of their life and about 400 children made decisions to follow Christ! Praise the Lord! The great part is they will have daily follow up at the school.
God is moving all over Beirut, Lebanon!
The question of the hour was…Do you feel safe? I said of course, there are armed soldiers and tanks on every corner downtown. The truth is that Beirut is a wonderful place and I would love to visit again with my family.
Rev. Eric Hamp