- "We are your friends" says Israeli Prime Minister to Iranian people
- Indonesian President vows to do more for persecuted Christians
- Chinese President Xi Jinping steps up as global leader challenging US supremacy
- Trump and the future of NATO
- 100 000 Killed in Yemen conflict
- Pakistan Prime Minister defends religious minorities
- Trump to offer Putin sanction-nuclear deal
- Several thousand US troops arrive in Poland in show of strength against Russia
- US set for confrontation with China over South China Seas
- Swim Classes - the new front line for Muslim integration into Europe
- Christians remain the most persecuted group in the world
- Influential voice against Iranian hardliners dies
- China sends first freight train to London
- Islamic State claims deadly Istanbul nightclub attack
- 59 Killed in Baghdad as terrorists continue to target the city
PROJECT CEDAR TREE
Psalm 104:16 “The trees of the LORD are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that He planted.”
PROJECT CEDAR TREE hopes to raise enough funds to assist the workers in Lebanon and Jordan in the following ways:
- Assisting refugees with essentials, like rent and food, and skills training to improve their economic opportunities.
- Providing equipment, like computers, to assist new converts in starting micro businesses.
- Supporting a centre that provides a safe space for children to gather and offers education, emotional support and counselling.
- Providing children with creative learning and therapeutic activities to help them recover from trauma rather than working in city streets or farms.
- Setting up and maintaining classrooms for children in the Bekaa Valley, where instruction in a number of subjects will be provided.
- Providing school supplies, including writing materials, backpacks and textbooks.
- Providing children’s audio Bibles, which are placed in soft toys (plush animals) to provide comfort as well as teaching.
- Providing audio Bibles in Arabic.
- Providing craft materials for an art school in Beirut.
- Providing a vehicle for transporting helpers and aid to the refugees.
- Sponsoring containers to be used to ship aid to Syria and Lebanon.
- Providing emergency funding for a young girl who urgently needs an operation.
THE CEDAR TREE – mentioned often in Scripture – has a number of similarities with the current refugee situation in Lebanon and Jordan.
On the Garden Guides website (http://www.gardenguides.com/138200-grow-cedar-trees-seed.html), a number of instructions about the growing of cedar trees can be applied to this project that aims to support the relief work among refugees in Lebanon:
1. Gardeners can grow a cedar tree from seed by collecting the small cedar cones.
There is a multitude of ‘seeds’ in Lebanon today, with more than 1,5 million refugees from Syria, Iraq and Kurdistan living in tent camps, slums and informal dwellings. More than 90% of these refugees are Muslim, and after being forcefully uprooted and displaced, many are seeking hope and peace. More than 50% of the refugees are children with little to no hope of an education, often working in fields to contribute towards the family’s living costs. One out of every four people in Lebanon is a refugee, and they lack the basic necessities of life. Every single ‘seed’ has the possibility of becoming a CEDAR TREE if planted and nurtured correctly.
2. Cedar trees require a cold winter to germinate.
There is no doubt that the Middle East is experiencing a severe “spiritual winter”. Hundreds of thousands of lives are being lost and futures are being shattered by the minute, as people flee for their lives and search of a glimmer of humanity. Never before has the world witnessed so many people on the move – more than 60 million in total – with so many stories of hardship and trauma. However, this spiritual winter could birth a "spiritual spring". The fields are “white with harvest” and literally thousands are coming to Christ. One refugee in Lebanon testified that if it wasn’t for the war, she wouldn’t have found Jesus. This is indeed a ‘now or never’ moment for the Church to seize and respond accordingly.
3. The cones need to be washed, dried and then crushed across a mesh screen. The seeds will separate from the pulp. The seeds must be saved and the pulp discarded.
One of the key characteristics of a heart open for the Gospel of salvation is brokenness, something that is shared by refugees across the world. 60 million refugees are broken by circumstances and desperate for life. One refugee said the following: “We don’t die once… in Syria we die every day.” Refugees are like seeds of the cedar tree, crushed from the security of the cone, and waiting to be planted in soil suitable for growth.
4. A site for planting the cedar seeds must be prepared. Turn over the soil with a shovel.
Seeds need soil, and the Church in Lebanon has been working tirelessly among the refugees to prepare suitable ‘soil’ for sharing the Gospel of Christ. They deserve all the support they can get, to ensure that every seed is planted, watered, nurtured and grown to maturity.
5. The seedlings must be thinned out to one seedling per inch. Allow the seedlings to grow in the furrow for two to three years, then transplant the seedlings to a new site where they have room to mature.
The Gospel is relational and engages individuals. Every seeker needs to be met with redemptive and future purposes in mind. Most of the refugees the INcontext team recently spoke to have a vision of returning to Syria or Iraq once the war is over. One refugee who came to know Christ in Lebanon received refugee status in Australia the day before we met him, and his response was the following: “I am so excited. I can now equip myself better to go back to Syria one day to share the Gospel.” Another young Syrian couple came to know Christ in a refugee camp and now plan to return home to share the hope of Christ with the people in their home town. They are leaving the “furrows” of new life and are being “transplanted” where they will mature.
May God help us to use this opportunity to support the rebuilding of lives and furthering the Kingdom of God in “such a time as this”.
The aim of PROJECT CEDAR TREE is to assist seekers to grow in the way described in Psalm 92:12-14:
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.”
There are four distinct characteristics of a CEDAR TREE that are analogous with a refugee Christian's growth experience. If we understand the four-fold purpose of the CEDARS OF LEBANON, we will understand the four-fold vision of this project.
1. The cedar tree grows DOWNWARD.
Growing downward takes time. But this is an absolute necessity for the cedars of Lebanon, because they grow on rocky mountain slopes where there is not a great deal of soil, thus they need to be deeply rooted.
Refugees who come to know Christ will face many challenges. Therefore, they need to be securely planted and deeply rooted in Christ. Audio Bibles will be of great assistance in this regard. Assisting new believers to start micro business projects would also help integrate them in society.
2. The cedar tree grows UPWARD.
The cedars of Lebanon grow taller than most other trees and become a beacon for all to see.
Refugees who have come to know Christ are starting to stand tall in their communities. The INcontext team met some refugees who came to know Christ and are now part of a team that distributes food and takes care of children. They have become beacons among their own people.
3. The cedar tree grows OUTWARD.
The cedar grows into a large, shady tree. Animals and birds seeking shelter from the heat of the day find it beneath the boughs of the cedar tree.
Refugees who found Christ have become a “place of refuge” for other refugees.
4. The cedar tree emits a FRAGRANT SMELL.
When crushed, the cones of the cedar tree release an amazing, sweet smell.
Refugees who have endured tremendous hardship and trauma and who come to know Christ emit the “fragrance of life”.
To make a financial contribution, please make use of the following bank account details.
- If you want your donation to be used specifically in Lebanon, use CEDAR and your email address (as much of it as space allows) as your reference.
- If your donation can be used for any of INcontext’s refugee-related projects, use REFUGE and your email address (as much of it as space allows) as your reference. For more about Project Refuge, click here.
ABSA cheque account
Branch: Durbanville (632 005)
USA Bank account
Account Name: M Burnard
Bank: BMO Harris Bank
Account number: 4818649309
Routing Number: 071025661