The World Relief Office of the American Baptist Churches USA has released a grant of $15,000 from One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) to provide immediate relief to displaced persons in Lebanon, due to the current conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.
The $15,000 will be sent to the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS) in Beirut, a partner of International Ministries (IM), and will be used to provide aid and provisions for those sheltered at the Beirut Baptist School and ABTS.
The humanitarian crisis began after fighters from Hezbollah launched a morning assault into Israel, Wednesday, July 12, killing six Israeli soldiers, and kidnapping two others. Since then, the Israeli military has engaged in an offensive to rescue the soldiers, and to dismantle Hezbollah. The violence has resulted in over 300 deaths, the vast majority in Lebanon, as well as an estimated 500,000 persons displaced within that country.
In a statement to IM, ABTS Provost Elie Haddad said, "The needs are humongous. We have only seen the conditions of some of the displaced people outside the targeted areas of destruction and we feel helpless. I cannot imagine how we will feel once the bombing stops and we see the condition of the people in the impacted areas. The major relief will start once the war stops." Haddad also expressed appreciation that IM missionaries Dan and Sarah Chetti have decided to remain in Lebanon during the conflict. "You don't know how much of an encouragement a decision like this is to our staff and community," he said.
The OGHS contribution will join relief aid also being provided by members of the worldwide Baptist community including Baptist World Aid, BMS World Mission, Canadian Baptist Ministries, and the European Baptist Federation.
American Baptists wishing to support the relief efforts in Lebanon can do so through their church’s monthly report of mission support, designating contributions “OGHS-Lebanon Relief," or give online.
In 1950, several American Protestant denominations merged their campaigns for relief to create what is now known as the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS). ABCUSA joined this effort in 1973. The collective effort raises about $20 million annually for development aid, disaster relief and refugee resettlement assistance in more than 70 countries around the world.
IM is a Baptist mission agency, established in 1814, which serves the more than 5,800 churches of the American Baptist Churches USA.
Globally, IM relates to more than 500 educational institutions and 125 hospitals and medical facilities. Missionaries work in partnership with some 15,000 trained national workers, who serve about 22,000 congregations and nearly 3,000,000 baptized members.