During this pandemic, the church is sharing our burdenOctober 23, 2020
Quarterly highlights – Q4 2020December 22, 2020
My name is Sarah and I have been living in Lebanon for the past 22 years. My ministry is mainly with the migrant domestic workers who come from about 15 countries of Asia and Africa. They are working in Lebanon under a very precarious “sponsoring” system that makes them vulnerable to all sorts of abuses. Many of them end up running away from their employers to escape poor treatment and are left on their own, without legal papers, and unable to support themselves.
Their condition has always been on my heart and I used to pray to God to show me how I could help them. God first answered my prayer by opening the door for a “prison ministry”, and I felt I had no excuse not to move forward. I started visiting migrant workers in Lebanese jails, bringing them food and various hygiene items or clothes, and passing on messages to their loved ones, but also sharing about the Gospel and praying with them. All these years, I witnessed first-hand how God was supplying for their needs. Despite our limited means and through unexpected gifts or partnerships, we always were able to provide if someone needed medical aid, legal aid, hygiene items, or money to travel back home.
After a while, I felt God pushing me to open a center for migrant domestic workers, where they could come and learn skills. So we founded the Insaaf center and started setting up training and classes for them, while providing food assistance and various items. We work in coordination with several migrant churches and with other NGOs doing relief or advocacy for migrant workers in Lebanon. There are more and more international and local organizations working on this issue, but I am humbled to say that, to my knowledge, we are the only protestant faith-based organization entirely dedicated to the issues of migrant workers.
Their situation became even worse with the onset of the economic crisis. When the COVID-19 pandemic broke, many employers terminated their employment in their homes. On top of all this, the Beirut explosion felt like the final nail in the coffin. Increasingly a large number of MDWs people are coming to our Insaaf center seeking assistance and wanting to go home.
The situation is hard, but we are trying to minister to them to the best of our ability. We are so happy that MERATH has come alongside us on this journey, helping us with food vouchers, hygiene items, and many other essentials. We feel strengthened. We thought we were alone. Of course, we provide material and emotional support, but we give it all to Jesus in prayer. He is our cornerstone. We have that in common and MERATH values it, unlike the other organizations we work with.