Life in the crisis
The generosity of New Apostolic members from the District Church of Western Germany has made it possible to provide much needed relief to people in the Lebanese capital of Beirut. Now the local congregation is expressing warm thanks for the donations.
“I wish you could have seen the faces of the people who were able to benefit from your valuable donations,” writes Bishop Aram Fesdjian. He is the lead minister in Lebanon, and is responsible for the distribution of the relief supplies. Five months ago, on 4 August 2020, images of the massive explosion in a chemical plant in the port of Beirut began making their rounds through the media for weeks. The accident claimed the lives of 130 people, and over 5,000 more were injured. The number of homeless climbed to over 300,000 people from one second to the next. The prevailing mood was one defined by fear and great need.
A country in crisis
Last year’s catastrophe shook Lebanon badly. The country was already struggling with difficult economic conditions, and the effects of the pandemic only made things worse. Beyond that the nation has many political and social uncertainties to contend with. Approximately one third of the country’s inhabitants are refugees. These migrants have come primarily from Syria and Palestine, and there are also numerous elderly people living among them. They had barely managed to flee to Jordan, but life there also posed immense challenges.
And then this explosion on top of everything else! The only bit of good news is that the misfortune unleashed an enormous willingness to help in New Apostolic circles. “I thank you all sincerely for your many prayers, as well as the great moral and financial support,” writes Bishop Aram Fesdjian, who is responsible for Lebanon.
The New Apostolic Church of Western Germany, which coordinates the pastoral and administrative work in Lebanon, received over 80,000 euros in donations in the weeks following the explosion. These funds made it possible to repair eleven damaged living spaces on the ground, along with the local New Apostolic church building, where over 100 members congregate for services. A total of 35 families who lost all of their belongings in the accident also received financial support to purchase groceries.
Two containers filled with donations of food and clothing, in particular winter clothing and blankets, were sent from Germany to Beirut. Most of these donations came from New Apostolic members in the Wiesbaden church district.
A container filled with non-perishable food items was held up in the port by militias, and only released on Christmas Eve after much negotiation. The second container, which was filled with used winter clothing collected from the congregations of the Wiesbaden district, has meanwhile arrived in Beirut and is to be released in the next few days.
In total, the New Apostolic Church of Western Germany was able to support the needy in Lebanon with donations in the amount of 86,000 euros.
Help through NAK-karitativ
Following the explosion, an appeal for donations also went out through NAK-karitativ under the tag “Refugee aid for Jordan”. Together with local partner organisations, these funds made it possible to perform emergency repairs, for example, to replace doors and windows and repair sanitary services and power lines. All relief efforts were primarily focused on families with elderly or disabled family members.