‘We keep praising God…’

We keep praising God for the opportunity to serve in Lebanon and be part of Living Stones. Your prayers and support are so much appreciated!

During this past summer RCB had two church conferences that gathered most of its congregation for three days of fellowship, worship, learning and fun together. More than 30 people got baptized, most of whom are not from a Christian background.  It was a real celebration of God’s work in and through us!

A team of seven people from RCB went to Syria and gave a two day training for over 250 youth Assyrian Orthodox University students. It was transformational for many and we made many good connections.

In mid-September we had a one-day youth gathering for University students in Lebanon and 500 adults attended.

RCB under the leadership of Pastor Hikmat is preparing for a conference in Beirut which will take place in October for 50 pastors, all from Syria. The purpose of the conference is to cast a vision for Syria and the future. There will also be time for fellowship and spiritual renewal.

RCB is in the process of transforming its roof top into an attractive youth recreational place.

The need for educational development in Lebanon is increasing. RCB opened a new LSP (Learning Support Project) to be able to serve a larger group of unprivileged children in our community. The school runs from 8am – 2pm, five days a week.

Bringing about social transformation

Hikmat and Krista write:
Based on documented evidence, we see the great value of investing in early childhood education as a way of bringing about social transformation within our local community, and have embraced the following children’s programmes:

Regular Sunday school classes that serve all the kids attending church, including the Iraqi, Syrian, Lebanese and expat children. The classes are in Arabic, English and sometimes in Kurdish. Some of our  church leaders are learning Kurdish in order to communicate with the children and their parents.

Mothers’ and toddler group ‘Mainly Music’ takes place twice a month. The purpose is to invite mothers from the community and their toddlers to attend an interactive music session. It’s a safe and friendly environment where mums find many friends and our church leaders build good relationships.

The Learning Support Project (LSP) which provides educational, emotional and spiritual help for underprivileged children. Students, mainly Syrian and Iraqi, have joined the programme. The classes now take place twice a day (morning and afternoon programme). This change has doubled the number of students. We have seen a dramatic change after several months into teaching: the children are open to share their daily experiences, they smile and play more, and they trust each other and their teachers.

The Philemon Project provides the best Christian-led, pro-social early childhood development (ECD) for at-risk poor Lebanese, Syrian refugee, and migrant children. We focus on children ages one to four years old. Additionally, we work with parents in our adult mentoring programme. Mentoring the parents helps them develop the skills they will need to create lasting, healthy, and productive relationships with their children.

Give thanks to God for the support that St John’s is providing for us and for the Church (RCB). We are so grateful for this partnership.

Continue to pray for our various ministries including infant, toddlers, kids and teens ministries. Pray for more workers in the field.

Pray for our weekly live broadcasting on Sat7 and other social media channels. Many people are watching our services (see www.sat7uk.org).

‘A new season of ministry’

L-R Daniella, Hikmat, Krista, Betine and Marcus Kashouh

L-R Daniella, Hikmat, Krista, Betine and Marcus Kashouh

One of our focuses in ministry in Lebanon is helping underprivileged families. Every family  has a unique story but they all have something in common- all these families have gone through pain, lost their loved ones and have left their homes behind, family and culture. Many have used their savings to travel to Lebanon.

Pray for these families who face humiliation and stress every day as they struggle to survive.

Over the past several years the Learning Support Project at RCB has helped to close the   widening gap in the educational needs of Syrian, Lebanese and now Iraqi children.

When the LSP first began, only supplemental help was needed. As the war rages on and children remain displaced, the issue has become more than simply incorporating children into existing school structures.

Children have grown older without a formal education, and the odds of children successfully entering a school become almost nil. In the face of the crisis of leaving a generation of refugee children without an education, the LSP staff are teaching basic literacy and numeracy to an increasing number of students.

For three days a week this summer, the LSP will be adding three more classes to the existing five, in congruence with our abilities and the increasing need for education among displaced children. Our hope in giving children the gifts of literacy and numeracy go hand-in-hand with our desire to give children a ‘love of learning’, an invaluable trait for life.

RCB Aug 2016The upcoming theme, ‘All Around the World’, will pull on the myriad members of RCB who will share with the children about the places they come from, be it Latvia, Great Britain, or Brazil!

We look forward to the opportunities to teach children about understanding, respect and love for one another, no matter where we come from or what our customs might be.

We praise God for the faithfulness of the many who have allowed the LSP to function at such a high standard up to the present. Please continue to pray for the staff and students of the Learning Support Project as we enter into a new season of ministry among an eager and needful group of children.

Hikmat and Krista have sent the following prayer requests:

Give praise to God for St John’s support
Pray for the new emerging leaders who are serving amongst their own ethnic groups
Pray for RCB as it expands its mission in the Middle East and North Africa
Pray for health and strength for the Kashouh family

Hikmat and Krista are Pastors of Resurrection Church, Beirut, Lebanon www.rcbeirut.org

 

“Our church building has become too small!”

Kashouh Family

Hikmat & Krista Kashouh wih (L-R) Betine, Daniella and Markus

We were very thankful for the opportunity to be with the St John’s family at Easter. It was wonderful to see very dear friends and meet new ones.

We were overwhelmed by everyone’s welcome and interest for our ministry and life in Lebanon, & the Middle East.

“To accommodate everyone we run two services on Sunday mornings. About 450 people attend.

Overflowing church insideLast week every chair was taken, extra chairs were put out and for the last few weeks we have had people   sitting outside the building and listening to the service. It is very encouraging to see so many people interested to know Him more, but at the same time it is physically hard and stretches our resources.

Overflowing church outsideBy the grace of God, the new church floor will be finished by Christmas this year. A special team is working to finish the project on time. Please pray for God’s guidance, protection and blessing as the  construction work has already started.

Meanwhile, people are meeting at Life Groups during the week. They started at the  beginning of the year and now we have reached 107 house groups!

More and more Lebanese and Syrian people are opening their homes to lead or host a new group. The spiritual thirst is enormous.

The HBC family continues to support marginalized and poor families by  providing food vouchers, medication and basic personal needs. Moreover, a  number of counsellors are regularly  visiting Syrian families and helping them through these difficult days.

On 1st May we had a church picnic.  Many new people came and spent the day with us. It was a day of worship, testimonies, and fellowship. A few families attended HBC the following  Sunday and are now regular comers.

The HBC staff team is planning for the church camp that will take place in July – another opportunity for us to invite new friends. Pray that it will be a time for everyone to deepen their relationships with God. It has become a tradition to have baptisms during the church camp. There are many people from a non-Christian background who have become the followers of Jesus.

Please keep praying for us, our church, its people, and the country. We need protection, strength and encouragement to keep pressing forward.

Hikmat and Krista are pastors of Hadath Baptist Church in Beirut, Lebanon. www.hbcbeirut.org

 

 

 

 

 

Touching Hearts

Kashouh Family

Hikmat & Krista with Betine (L), Daniella, Marcus

‘For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has
destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…’ Ephesians 2:14

Dear St John’s family:
For the past several years Syrians have been seeking refuge in Lebanon from the war. Statistics now put the number of registered refugees at over 1.5 million (UNCHR).

Many have lost everything. In the midst of their distress, people don’t just need physical relief; they need relational relief. There is a deeper need for people to come alongside them, to share about Jesus’ love and live it out in the midst of their pain.

HBC (Hadath Baptist Church) visits refugee camps on a regular basis in various places in Lebanon. On one occasion, we met a Syrian mother who stoically shared how she lost her youngest child.

During a shelling, she grabbed her older two children to move them to another building. By the time she arrived back for her younger two children, she found the body of her baby girl in her other daughter’s arms, sniped through the head.

“It is in the midst of stories like this that HBC is entering in, bringing relief through listening compassionately and praying boldly.

HBC with its partners in Nabaa (a district in Beirut where many refugees live) distribute diapers, hygiene kits and baby formula to Syrian women. We also lead Bible studies and discipleship training.

Separately, the Women’s Ministry operates a weekly garage sale with items marked at low cost, allowing refugees to make their own purchases and maintain their sense of dignity.

Some of these refugees have been participating in our weekly services for over a year. With tensions from past conflicts between the countries, the church experienced some resistance when this new initiative began.

However, as time went by, it has been amazing to see Syrians and Lebanese worshipping together, serving one another and seeing Syrians taking on leadership roles, both in the church and in their communities. One young lady at HBC commented, ‘I don’t see the Syrian refugees served by our church…they have become part of our church.’

As Hadath members enter into the lives of those who have lost so much, with a people group where enmity has existed, we are witnessing a transformation in the heart of the church. Those who have lost have given, and relational relief, we realize, goes both ways.
Pray for us!

Hikmat and Krista pastor Hadath Baptist Church (HBC) in the Lebanon.
www.hadathbaptistchurch.org
The Kashouh family are supported by the home group led by Harvey Rigby and Sylvia Pemberton, and also John and Debby Bridge’s home group.