Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
Do you ever find yourself in conflict with God’s will: your desires pulling you one way, God’s desires pulling you another? Jonah found himself in that very position, but his own desire won out over God’s for a time. Or so he thought. As we often see in our own lives, God accomplished His purposes through Jonah even though it meant that God had to bring him to his knees in humility to deal with his prideful and unwilling heart.
While Jonah eventually departed and proclaimed God’s message, the lesson of his story does not end there. Jonah prophesied to Nineveh, but he wasn’t happy about it (Jonah 4:1). Herein we find another principle for our lives: aligning our desires with God’s is always a process. Just because we go through the motions of following God’s will, does not mean that sour hearts are aligned with His. God wanted Jonah’s actions and his heart. He wants ours as well.
During this month we are following the theme: “Engaging with our missions and missionaries” and we will study the book of Jonah. This week in chapter one we consider “The Missing Missionary”.
Your friend and pastor,
This week’s mission emphasis is Lebanon.
For more than 5 years, IBCZ has been praying for and supporting the work of pastor Milad Haddad and his wife Hoda, in Rayak, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. In addition to shepherding the local church of 80 members (130 attendees), pastor Milad oversees an ample Christian and humanitarian mission at the border with Syria. The mission there entails a wide range of activities: medical care (free medical consultations for the community including chronic treatments, prayer for the sick and educational and awareness sessions), sharing the Gospel to the locals and the Muslim Syrian refugees, youth ministry (fellowship with more than 300 youth from all over Lebanon), sport (football academy for 120 boys and girls), Community festivals, women ministry, youth ministry, Syrian refugee ministry (providing spiritual, psychological and logistical support). In the same time, the church manages a school with 200 children, which offers beyond education, also spiritual counseling, Bible discovery sessions and programs oriented on health, integration, mental wellness and recovery and support for the families of the children.
Pastor Milad and his wife Hoda have a significant impact in that region, one of the most dangerous areas of Lebanon, at the border with Syria. They bring hope, joy and faith to the communities there by introducing people, mostly Muslim, to the person of Jesus and His power to heal, protect, and redeem, no matter how hopeless the situation. Milad and Hoda do this with a lot of dedication and love for the people, despite own personal challenges. Hoda has been diagnosed with cancer, undergoes many treatments for this, but remains a faithful servant, alongside with her husband, in caring for God’s children in the Bekaa valley.
As a church, let us pray for the mission in Lebanon, for strengths to His servants there, and for many Muslim families getting to know the Lord.