ICC Note: Earlier this week we told you about the pressures against the Church in Lebanon . We received the following letter from brothers in Lebanon . Please keep them in prayer as hostilities towards Christians are running high.
Church Attacked in Lebanon
Thank the Lord the cease-fire has taken place. Hopefully things will get back to normal soon; the Lebanese people are resilient. The persecution to our church reached a climax two Wednesdays ago. At six o’clock, before the midweek Bible study, Pastor Raymond (my brother) and Brother Claude, went to the church van to get a sweater for someone. They found tires slashed on two of the three vehicles, including the van. When they went to inspect the damage, a mob, led by the head of city hall, attacked them and beat them brutally for ten minutes, kicking them and stomping them on the head and their bodies.
Then they managed to get in the van and drive to the hospital. Raymond called us and told us what happened and told us to call the police. In the meantime, the mob was outside away from church limits and my parents came with Hana. They yelled at my mom and told her to stay in the car. She said the wouldn’t because she assumed Raymond, his family (2 girls and 1 boy), and I were inside. The head of city hall struck her on the face and they broke the mirrors of the car. Then Leila (my brother’s wife) and I went to look who was out and they hurled stones at us.
We went inside, but the people inside closed the door early on Leila. Then the mob attacked and forced their way in. I was trying to keep them from breaking in the door along with a couple of other young men, but we basically tasted the wood of the door.
We told them Christ loved them and died for them. They continued their work and broke in. While they were breaking in, the head of city hall struck Leila on the face. They dragged us out and hit a couple of us (all I got was a lousy slap from behind, but that’s ok) they really targeted one of the older brothers whom they had seen before. They choked and beat him and they hit him with a stick on his head as he ran away.
They went in and stole church items, tore the Bible, took the cross off the wall, broke a couple of doors, including a glass door. They stole three computers. When my mom was inside, refusing to go, a man grabbed her and threw her out, her arms were bruised for an entire week. Those who were forced out went to the hospital to check on Pastor Raymond and Claude and Abdallah. Claude suffered the most, he had a broken rib.
They were about to put all the church possessions in a truck and hall them away, however, the head of city received a phone call that made him stop in his tracks and leave the place. Finally, the notary public sealed the church with red wax by decree of the head of city hall, this being an abuse of authority with no legal basis.
During all of this, the Bishop, who has persecuted Evangelicals before when they tried to build in his district was mounting the attack. He also mounted an attack on us in the newspapers, but we have responded. We also have pursued out legal rights, many sympathize, but the Maronite (Catholic subset) sect dominates our district politically and so we may not get much help. We accept God’s will in all this, but have the faith that He can give us justice and be glorified.
We are now meeting in houses and will soon rent a place to carry on our ministry. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the testing of your faith worketh patience. At times it’s hard to forgive them for what they do, but we pray that God will help us be like Christ and the first martyr, Stephen, who forgave in the midst of their persecution.
Please send this to every one and greet them on my behalf. We are grateful for your care and prayers towards us. Our website is at http://www.cbbclebanon.com
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
I Thes 5:16-18
Yours in Christ,