More and more Christians are leaving the Middle East. This exodus is affecting not only Syria and Iraq, but also Lebanon. In the quite recent past, this country was the only country of the Middle East with a Christian majority in the population, but now Christians are an ever shrinking minority.
Today, the outreach ministry provides over a thousand people with a hot meal each day, an increase of 400 people compared to the previous year. Many Syrian refugees are also involved, helping in the kitchens, so that they can also have the opportunity to earn a living.
At present there are three young men from the Maronite Archdiocese of Baalbek who are training for the priesthood. Archbishop Hanna Rahme has a particular concern for these young men, but lacks the necessary resources. He has turned to ACN for help, so that they can be given a solid formation and be able to stand by their people as true shepherds.
"It would be great if Christians in the West would petition their government so that, for example, the US government take account of the importance of Christians in the Middle East. It seems that sometimes that economic considerations have precedence, as has been the case in Iraq, for example. Western policy should ensure that Christians remain in the Middle East—their presence is vital."
"Lebanese Muslims are very much influenced by Christians—they are different than Muslims in Syria or Iraq, because they have lived side by side with many Christians and have been exposed to Christian values, including their support for democracy, and tolerance. That is a vital, indispensable gift Christians have to offer the region."