CANADIAN CHURCHES RESPONDING TO THE REFUGEE CRISIS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH MIDDLE EASTERN CHURCH

Partners International Canada

BRAMPTON, ONT. – (CANADIAN CHRISTIAN NEWS SERVICE) – God is present in the Middle East. Even as violence and chaos forces millions from their homes, God sees the opportunity to transform lives. Despite opposition and persecution, the Church in the Middle East has responded to practically share God’s love through partnership with the global Church.

As the refugee crisis continues, Canadian churches are coming together to discuss the issues that face the Middle East and how the church must respond to such tragedy. Faith Rising: The Church Responding in the Middle East is a series of roundtable discussions hosted by Partners International Canada. The discussions will be publicly hosted by five churches in Ontario (May 24-28 in Kingston, Toronto, Woodstock, Burlington and Newmarket) and two in British Columbia (May 29-June 1 in Vancouver and Surrey). At the center of the discussions will be the director of the Free Evangelical Association of Lebanon (FEAL), Joseph Najem and FEAL worker, Dany Saab. Najem and Saab have seen the heartbreak that is present and have been moved to respond to such suffering through FEAL’s Oasis refugee program. Their work with Oasis has been profiled in Partners International’s short film, Trapped in Transition, that captures the plight of refugee families through the eyes of the FEAL National Workers serving them.

Both Najem and Saab will be engaging the Canadian Church about the long-term vision for the church in the Middle East. FEAL views the church in Lebanon as the beginning of a movement that will see Christianity spread throughout the region.

“The dedicated men and women of FEAL unconditionally share God’s love in practical ways and in truth” says Partners International president, Kevin McKay. “Because of their faith and desire to share the love of Christ they are empowered to serve hundreds of refugees through FEAL’s Oasis program both in Beirut and the Bekaa Valley. Can you imagine, thousands of suffering people are coming to hear who Jesus Christ really is for the first time! FEAL’s team recognizes the significance of this time and has mobilized to build relationships of trust and love by serving so many people that are desperate and broken.”

While Faith Rising welcomes both pastors and media to be a part of the discussion, each event will also be open to the public to participate in. A roundtable discussion will be livestreamed on the Partners International Youtube page (Youtube.com/PartnersCanada) and those who attend the events can ask questions by tweeting at Partners International (@partnerscanada).

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To Interview Joseph Najem, Dany Saab or Kevin McKay:
Luke McKee | luke.mckee@partnersinternational.ca | 905.458.1202 ext. 239
Faith Rising Webpage:
Trapped in Transition:
Partners International Canada and the Free Evangelical Association of Lebanon:
FEAL has been spreading the gospel throughout the Middle East and North Africa since 1994, relying on National Workers to serve and minister to people throughout this region, often putting their lives at risk to share the love of Jesus with their neighbour. Since the beginning of the refugee crisis in 2011, FEAL has worked to provide basic food, clothing and short term supplies to families that have been forced from their homes with nothing. Beyond short-term relief, FEAL works to provide refugee families with programs that provide education and a safe place for children to play. In the past year alone, FEAL has served over 700 refugee families and distributed 8400 portions of food. Their Saturday Oasis program serves 120 families each week and continues to impact recently displaced people as a light in a dark place. Partners International works to bring Canadians into partnership with locally-led Christian ministries like FEAL, who specialize in holistic development and are working in the least reached, least resourced areas of the world. Their leaders have the advantage of grassroots knowledge that enables them to overcome the cultural barriers often difficult to conquer by outsiders.