Nabil Costa, executive director of the Lebanese Society for Education and Social Development, is reporting that Lebanese Baptists need medical care, medication, mattresses, hygiene items and clothing to help with thousands of refugees in their country.
Both the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary and the Beirut Baptist School are ministering to some of the as many at 500,000 Lebanese who have fled homes in the wake of Israel's attack.
Costa reported that Elie Haddad, provost at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, contacted Sheikh Shafik Jaradeh, a respected Shiite clergyman, about the situation in Shafik's neighborhood, which had been bombed.
Sheikh Shafik, who has participated in the seminary's past two forums about pursuing better relationships between Christians and Muslims, “was quite overwhelmed that both ABTS and BBS were lending a hand to displaced Shiite families.”
Shafik told Haddad, “You are different,” according to Costa.
“We've been praying that we [would] be able to make a difference through being salt and light in our community,” wrote Costa, “and the events of the day have been little touches of encouragement to each and every one of us.”
Baptist World Aid has announced it is releasing $15,000 in relief funds for Lebanon, while Canadian Baptist Ministries had earlier committed $5,000 in emergency aid for displaced people at BBS and ABTS.
SAT-7, a Christian TV satellite network, reported its facilities in Beirut were undamaged. Headquartered in Cyprus, SAT-7 receives support from the Baptist General Conference, BMS World Mission, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and International Ministries of the American Baptist Churches-USA.
“It's a pathetic thing, pitiful,” Faysal Sharif, a Virginia Baptist leader, told EthicsDaily.com, referring to the hundreds of thousands of Lebanese refugees. “Where is the clarity of conscience of this world when such killings take place? The question especially applies to followers of Jesus Christ who need to understand the call by Jesus to ‘love your enemy.' ”
Sharif, a native of Yemen and a Kingdom Advance ambassador for Muslim Outreach Ministries for the Virginia Baptist Mission Board, said the two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah were not more valuable than Lebanese lives.
“Because of two people, they have killed over 300 Lebanese,” he said. “I don't see any justification that we have to kill more.
“Personally, I think that if the U.S. takes an evenhanded approach the whole problem can be resolved,” he said, lamenting the American policy as one-sided. “The U.S. literally gives to Israel the equivalent of $15,000 in per capita support.”
A graduate of American University of Beirut, Sharif said the conflict's root problem related to the Palestinians and that the problem could be solved by turning over the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinian Authority.
“U.S. policy is to support blindly Israel,” said Sharif. “Israel has a great influence in this concern. Even many Christian groups support it, especially the dispensationalists and Christian Zionists.”