The Lord will provideJuly 15, 2022
Two years later, Lebanon struggles to recoverAugust 4, 2022
Omaya and her two children with MERATH’s church partner
My name is Omaya and I am from Egypt. My mother is Lebanese and my father is Egyptian. I was born in Egypt and when I was 3 months old, my mother left my father, my sister, and I, and went back to Lebanon alone. I grew up without knowing if she is alive or not. Until one day, she reached out to my sister and I and asked us to meet her and move to Lebanon. We went because we couldn’t imagine never getting to know her. I was 23 at the time.
This is when I got to know my Lebanese husband. We got married, we had our daughter, and we stayed together for two and a half years before he was arrested and went to jail for five years. When he got out of jail, I gave him another chance because I believed he could change and work and make clean money, but nothing changed and he continued to have a very unhealthy life, besides being unfaithful.
Eventually he just left us. My daughter was nine and my son was two years old, he still needed diapers at the time. My children’s father does not ask about them and does not support us in any way, and neither does his family. We only saw him briefly once after the Beirut blast because we visited his brother at the hospital, and he came at the time we were there. Since then, we never saw him or heard of him. Sometimes, my daughter wonders how it is possible to be so cold hearted. How can he not check about us, knowing how difficult these times are? My daughter once sent him a very heartfelt voice message in which she was crying, he did not even care to reply. She needed 500 dollars so she could continue her education and was begging him to help with some of the money.
Life has honestly always been difficult, but when I was still able to work, at least I was able to secure food and our most basic needs. I used to work during the night to be able to be present with my children during the day. I used to take care of old people or do some cleaning in houses.
When my health deteriorated, things started getting tougher. I have been suffering from high blood pressure since the birth of my daughter, but I was still able to buy medication and work. But four years ago, I started struggling with the most basic efforts, like cleaning the house, climbing stairs, or even just walking short distances. So, I went to the doctor who examined me and found that my heart was only 40% functional and could stop at any time. He urged me to have an open-heart surgery, but it was never an option as I could never afford it. My children were with me, and we all started to cry.
Since then, I have to be extremely careful because I can’t afford the medication consistently. My daughter is now 17 and she wants to work to help me, so that I can rest. She studied until sixth grade but was not able to continue after that. My son had to drop school as well because I cannot afford it. It’s very sad because they were so good at school. I wish more than anything for them to study but they haven’t been to school for the past three years, and it has been very difficult on them emotionally. But there is no school, and there is no work either.
Our situation has become incredibly worse since the start of the economic crisis. We literally have nothing in our fridge. Before I got to know the church, I had hit rock bottom. I had to go ask my neighbor for a bag of bread. I had nothing to feed my children.
I have known the church for two years now. My neighbors told me about the church, but I thought they were only helping Christians, because this is what communities do here in Lebanon, they only help their own. So, I was very surprised to learn that they helped everyone regardless of nationality or religion.
Since I got to know the church, my life changed completely. I was finally able to catch my breath. Even the smallest things the church helps me with are so precious to me because of how badly I need them. For example, they helped us with hygiene items, mattresses, and blankets during winter. Whenever they have something available, they remember us. The food e-card I received for three months was like a breeze of fresh air. It gave me so much relief and peace to know I would be able to bring all the food we needed and that I wouldn’t have to worry about this for now.
Sometimes I am weary and really sad, and my son comes and comforts me and tells me God sees us and will not abandon us. He will provide. Now we live day by day. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, maybe we won’t even see tomorrow. We are in God’s hands, and we can only trust in Him. If He takes cares of the birds, of course He will take care of us. He is the beginning and the end of all things. We are only passing by on this earth, coming and leaving. And God created us all. We have to love one another and help one another. God is love. If you are not able to love your neighbor, it means you do not know God. My faith is the only thing that keeps me going. Without my faith, I might have ended my own life. Even my children had suicidal thoughts at some point. But when you remember God and you realize He is actually by your side, you are able to see the blessings.
The support from the church is also emotional and spiritual. Although I am not from the same religion, the church keeps encouraging me and reminds me that God did not abandon me. I feel like I am not alone and that there is still some good left in this world. When my daughter prays that the church would help us with anything, I usually get a call from them shortly after! God doesn’t abandon us.