Blog Moving refugee families from despair to hope Recently our Partners Relationship Manager, Adrian Whittred, visited Bell Farm Christian Centre and shared with them some details about his recent visit to the Lebanon and how our partners bring hope to Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Moving people from despair to hope Adrian says: “It was very humbling to see our partners serving rejected and displaced refugees Our partners define their work by the great commandment (Matthew 22 v 37-39) loving God and our neighbours as ourselves and their mission being to make disciples of those they encounter and ultimately moving people from despair to hope. Driven by Christ's compassion, our partners believe that their ministry must be carried out with pure, unconditional love. Like the example of the Good Samaritan, they understand the need to lay their differences at the altar of human suffering and extend a helping hand to everyone in need.” Our partners in the Lebanon run education and food & hygiene distribution centres in Beirut, southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley. Teaching activities are held in Arabic and English language, with Art being a very popular and particularly helpful activity to refugee children, who often express themselves through drawing and colour. Character development lessons are also held, based upon biblical principles. Many of the children arrive in the school aggressive and angry, finding it hard to relate and interact with other children. None of this should be surprising considering the violence they will have experienced. Most do not have a male role model as their fathers have either remained in Iraq or Syria or been killed. Hope on Wheels Our partners have recently commenced a project called Hope on Wheels, following the acquisition of a lorry, which has been converted to include a fold-out stage. The lorry is driven to each centre twice monthly, with staff carrying out plays, songs, Bible stories and engaging activities for the children’s enjoyment and participation. Adrian’s stand-out moment (although he says there are too many to mention!) was taking green tea with an Iraqi family in their tent in the Bekaa Valley. The journey from their home town in Iraq to the tent in which they now live was fraught with danger, interspersed with harrowing events along the way. He says: “It was both a privilege and humbling experience to share the family’s story, one which I will never forget – I was truly blessed in abundance”. Journeying with refugees, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Adrian concludes by saying: “Our partners have come a long way since the project started in 2006, and whilst they have seen significant growth, their ministry still reflects deep spirituality in all that they undertake. It is clear that education is making a profound difference to many children in the camps and not just academically. These children live in overly crowded and poorly sanitised communities, so it was a joy to see the children showing me how to wash their hands properly! At the core of our partners’ work is emotional, physical and spiritual well-being and support underpinned by sharing the gospel message, always with a joyful smile on their faces. What a blessing it has been to be afforded such a real-life experience with people who have next to nothing but with our partners, can experience real hope”. Church Visit If you would like Adrian to visit your church and share more of his experience of visiting our international partners, please click on the link and contact us.