International Ministries (IM) Global Servants in Beirut, Lebanon have reported that they are safe after a massive explosion devastated the Port of Beirut, resulting in more than 137 deaths, over 5,000 injured, and a reported 300,000 people homeless. The blast compounds the devastation of a nation already reeling from the recent economic crisis and long-term challenges posed by an influx of refugees from war in neighboring Syria as well as the global COVID-19 pandemic.
IM global servants, Daniel and Sarah Chetti saw and heard the explosion from their home in the hills about 6 miles from the site of the blast. Global servant Melanie Baggao likewise was safe at her home at a distance overlooking the city.
Sarah, who directs INSAAF, a ministry to migrant domestic workers, reports that the INSAAF center, located on the 8th floor of a downtown Beirut building, suffered shattered windows and metal window and door frames torn from hinges. Daniel, who serves as an adjunct professor at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary and as director of Enduring Love, notes that six of Enduring Love’s servants work in Lebanon, serving among the poorest Lebanese and non-Lebanese Arab people may be greatly impacted by the disaster.
Our Lebanese Baptist partners have reported that their school building and some offices were heavily damaged in the shockwave, but thankfully personnel are safe. Sarah Chetti, INSAAF, and ministries of IM partners were cited in a report released yesterday by Christianity Today.
We join with Nabil Costa, Chief Executive Officer of the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD), IM’s primary partner in Lebanon, in soliciting your prayers as follows:
Please also pray for local colleagues with whom our global servants work; and for the people whom they serve. IM continues to monitor this developing situation.
Persons wishing to support relief efforts can do so through their American Baptist church, or through giving online, or by sending checks directly to International Ministries. Please designate your contributions “OGHS–Lebanon” on the memo line of your check.
Checks sent directly to International Ministries should be made payable to “International Ministries” and mailed to:
Attn: Gifts Processing
1003 W 9th Avenue, Ste A
King of Prussia, PA 19406
One Great Hour of Sharing is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA. The Committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work, and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing the distribution of the annual OGHS offering received by churches.