In Lebanon, 1.6 million Syrian refugees are taking the hardest hits during the COVID-19 lockdown. Now that many refugees are out of work, emotions are rising. Many Syrian refugee families live in overcrowded, damp, and even moldy apartments. With close quarters and nowhere to go, there’s no escape for abuse victims.
Pierre Houssney, executive director of Horizons International says, “There are more stressors on the people. There are economic pressures, there’s unemployment, and that just makes…a lot more increased opportunities for conflict — whether that be marital conflict or other kinds of domestic abuse.”
Horizons International serves Muslims in Lebanon through nine ministry centers. They build relationships with Muslims and refugees, share Gospel hope, and disciple new believers from a Muslim background.
Unfortunately, Houssney says, “Many of them are in difficult homes. Many of them will experience domestic abuse.”
Houssney recently spoke with someone from the Lebanon Ministry for Public Health who also works on the government’s Mental Health Initiative. “He was saying that the calls into the hotlines that they run have nearly doubled in terms of reports for domestic abuse, and then also for reports of people who are thinking about suicide.”
In light of the pandemic, Horizons International is talking with their staff about how to prevent emotional isolation with the refugees they serve. They are checking in on refugee families and providing emergency aid along with reminders of Jesus’s love.
To set a positive example for families, the ministry has a curriculum that teaches God-honoring family principles. Horizons International’s family curriculum “confronts the cultural idea of what a family should be and it replaces it with the biblical method of raising children [and] marriage. It talks about communication, it talks about loving one another, [and] it talks about mutual respect according to the biblical model. So we’ve seen a lot of results in that.”
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SOURCE: Mission Network News,
CALL TO ACTION
- Pray for refugees in Lebanon who are under extra strain during the COVID-19 lockdown.
- Ask God to protect victims of domestic abuse who are home with their abuser.
- Pray for families to grow towards each other and Christ.