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Nouvelle Action missionnaire pour les années 2021 à 2022

« Un cœur pour le Liban : soutien de l’école d’Anjar »


Petit village chrétien dans la Bekaa, Anjar possède un centre d’éducation pour les enfants (200 élèves, dont 76 résidents) qui fait partie de l’UAECNE (Union of Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East).

En plus de la scolarisation des élèves internes et externes, le centre propose un culte hebdomadaire, un culte de l’enfance (4 à 12 ans), un groupe pour les adolescent-e-s et les jeunes ou encore un groupe pour les femmes. Un excellent travail y est réalisé par le couple responsable des lieux, Hagop et Nanor Akbasharian, pasteur et directrice.

Anjar a toujours offert une scolarité de qualité. Hagop Akbasharian s’emploie à poursuivre cette dynamique. Il a développé un « programme d’éducation personnalisé » pour les enfants avec des besoins particuliers. 65 personnes travaillent au quotidien dans l’établissement, dont des professionnels hautement qualifiés (psychothérapeutes, thérapeutes du langage…).

Engageons-nous pour soutenir ce travail qui continue dans les conditions très difficiles après la tragédie de Beyrouth…

Merci de votre générosité ! – Pour rappel, la Bonne Soupe en faveur de la mission en mars 2021 ne pourra pas avoir lieu… CP 40-27210-6 ou IBAN CH59 0900 0000 4002 7210 6 mention : « Anjar »

 

« Un cœur pour le Liban : soutien de l’école d’Anjar »…
Le projet 2021 du Gam sera pour le Liban. Vous trouvez ci-dessous les premières informations sous forme d'une lettre:


EGLISE MISSIONNAIRE – ACO

It has been over a year that the Lebanese have faced a succession of events pushing it farther away from any sense of “normalcy”. The economy was already weak due to years of government mismanagement, prices of basic goods were rising and increasing numbers becoming unemployed, descending into poverty. With nearly a third of Lebanon’s population refugees from Syria, only a small shift in this precarious balance would bring everything crashing down.

And that is exactly what happened in October of 2019. The government added yet one more, seemingly small, tax on gasoline, tobacco and internet-based communication; and so a popular outburst resulted, bringing thousands and thousands of Lebanese to the streets to demand the resignation of the entire political class. The Lebanese currency started its downward slide, with the Central Bank no longer able to artificially keep it afloat. Local banks began restricting depositors’ access to their funds, because the banks had lent that money to the government to support its wasteful spending. All of this is having a cascade effect, creating unbearable stresses on everything and everyone.

That terrible day at the Port of Beirut on August 4th, when large portions of the city were ruined in a few seconds (in a way even the 1975-1990 Civil War did not do), left about 200 dead, 6-8,000 wounded and a quarter-million people with ruined homes and businesses. Last November, as a reaction to the popular protests, the cabinet of ministers stepped down, and a cabinet of “specialists” with proper skills was sought. That new cabinet was formed in January, but after the explosion it, too, stepped down. The former Prime Minister returned as the “new” head of a “new” cabinet, but there are few prospects for cabinet formation in the near future. The inability to form a new government, as foreign donors were requiring, is unlikely after 30 years of ingrained corruption.

Located where it is, so close to the epicenter of the explosion, the Union’s churches, schools and offices sustained widespread damage. Not only this, but the affected area is heavily populated by Armenians, whose homes and businesses were destroyed that day, and the powerful winds created by the blast tore everything from its moorings. This will be a gradual, ongoing effort, requiring substantial investment.

As the year draws to a close, and the winter rains begin, older structures with damaged walls or roofs have begun collapsing or are near collapse. Pastors’ residences, many of which are one to two kilometers from the port are also in the midst of reconstruction. The Union’s next target will be to remedy the damage to church buildings, including sanctuaries, offices, meeting rooms and so forth. With God’s help and the generous support of partners, before long all of these properties will be secured from the winter winds and rain, and then the focus will turn to the remaining interior and furnishing work.

Yet the work progresses slowly, largely due the capital controls the banks have imposed on all Lebanese. Even with “fresh” cash flows from abroad to our accounts, the banks limit how much the Union can withdraw per month. What it can withdraw has to be carefully apportioned to salaries, ongoing ministry and projects, in addition to the reconstruction efforts.

The Armenian Evangelical Church has a God-given calling in educational outreach to the Armenian and wider communities. But the challenges the Union faces in obeying this calling have dramatically increased in the past year. Health concerns have necessitated a shift to online teaching, begun in the spring was done with great difficulty. Although there are now systems in place to conduct virtual teaching, there are many, many students who lack the devices or connectivity to make proper use of

the setup. At the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year the Union followed suit with the rest of Lebanon’s Armenian schools and offered a nearly tuition-free enrollment to their students. Yet how long this can be sustained, considering the strain it places on the Union’s resources and the additional burden on the Union’s partners?

These same issues are also being faced by Haigazian University, which experienced substantial damage, yet nonetheless in September launched a new academic year while also observing its 65th anniversary. Currently in an online mode, the university has maintained the core elements of its academic program, and in the absence of students and many staff continues its repair and renovation work.

A glimpse at examples of the human cost Lebanon’s multi-crises are causing will serve to illustrate the aforementioned systemic problems.

A family with four children, students at one of the Union’s schools, stopped at their home in Beirut to gather some clothing and return to their vacation in the mountains. It was the afternoon of August 4th. Their home was ruined in an instant. The flying glass severed an artery in the mother’s leg, and the children watched in horror as her blood poured out. Hospitals in the immediate area were heavily damaged, so when the father gathered the entire family in the car, they had to go from hospital to hospital to find an emergency ward that could treat the mother. Their mother had her artery repaired, but the father and four small witnesses are still struggling to cope with what they experienced.

A divorced couple, whose child lives in Beirut with his grandmother, was also a witness not only to the blast, but also to his grandmother’s wounding. The father rushed to the scene, gathered his child and the grandmother into the car and went searching for a hospital that was able to treat his mother. The trauma has stayed with the child so much so that he refuses to return to Beirut, and cannot concentrate enough to participate in the online classes the Armenian Evangelical school is offering.

These days children at the Union’s Boarding Department in Ainjar are writing letters to Santa Claus, but their requests this year are quite different. Instead of toys or treats the majority of the letters are asking for things for their family or for Lebanon: “diabetes medicine for my mother”, “a carpet for the cold floor in our home”, “the coronavirus to end”, “enough income for mother and father”, “Lebanon to recover”. Although they are surrounded by love and care at the Boarding Department, these children are continually thinking of their home situation and their parents’ needs.

Two of the boarding children, whose mother died a few years ago, were being supported by their father, who needs dialysis three times a week. As a result, the father can only work at his job in airline maintenance a few days each week. Because of the stoppage of tourism, due to the economic crisis as well as the pandemic, along with him being at high-risk for coronavirus infection, he was laid off of his job. The government hospitals, which are the only places he can have his dialysis, have reduced his dialysis to twice and then once per week. Without a functioning government, and with the rampant corruption in every government system, this father has no alternative but to turn to the Union. So, the Boarding Department is doing its utmost to find medicines to assist this father, or arrange for emergency room treatment due to the reduction in the frequency of dialysis, because they do not want these children to be left completely orphaned.

Another father has seen his work as a taxi driver reduced to almost nothing as a result of coronavirus fears, as well as the 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. lockdown. He is entitled to a governmental income subsidy, but the Lebanese government is bankrupt. So when he goes to the government office to receive his subsidy he is being given excuse after excuse, but no assistance. His landlord, whose sole income is

the rent this family pays, is now telling them to move out if they cannot pay. Now this father is beside himself trying to find a way to secure his rent, so that when the children come home for New Year’s break they will have a home in which to live.

So the Union continues doing the work of the church in this part of the world, in an impossibly corrupt environment, while human needs continue to grow unabated. Only with divine help and the persistence of faithful ecumenical partners is it able to continue to some degree the necessary work of caring for individuals and communities.

Thanks be to God for each one of you, and may the blessings of the Lord Jesus Christ protect and encourage all of us.

Rev. L. Nishan Bakalian Coordinator of Church Relations Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East Beirut, Lebanon o: +9611565628
Autor
Céline Hauck

061 270 96 66
aktualisiert mit kirchenweb.ch
Besuche: 21 Monat - Bereitgestellt: 07.07.2021