Special report from Beirut: “This is not just another bombing”

The images are shocking. Over and over on social media and news outlets around the world, the massive blast that decimated a large portion of Beirut, Lebanon this week has been on repeat.

Beirut: August 5, 11 pm
Charbel (left) and his family were among the first to receive food. Hundreds are being fed daily, as they identify additional ways to help.

As our team watched in horror with the rest of the world, we decided to reach out to some ministry friends in the Middle East to get a first-hand account of how they are mobilizing resources to bring hope in the midst of a tragedy that has killed at least 135, injured thousands, and displaced over 300,000 people.

“This is not just another bombing in the Middle East,” says Michel Tanneous, who lives in Beirut with his family. “Our main port is gone. This will cause us to run out of flour, fuel, and everything that is imported. People will run out of gas, power, bread … you name it.”

“This is not just another bombing in the Middle East. Our main port is gone.”

Michel says they were already preparing for famine in the area. “Now this explosion made it happen in a split second.”

Michel works for Preemptive Love, a nonprofit coalition founded by Jeremy Courtney that provides relief, jobs, and community in an effort to wage peace on the frontlines of some of the world’s worst conflicts in Iraq, Syria, the U.S, and other parts of the globe.

Preemptive Love did not have existing programs in Beirut, but with some of their staff living there, they were able to quickly respond in the wake of the explosion to identify local partners in the area. They have teamed up with a food kitchen in Beirut which was already serving meals to the needy and have worked to repair damage to their facility so they can provide at least 200 meals a day.

Hungry people in Beirut were served Molokhia, a popular, nutritious local dish, familiar and comforting when everything is strange and frightening.

For those who are ill or disabled and cannot leave their homes to pick up food, the ministry team began going house to house on Wednesday evening to deliver meals.

They have plans to bring much more than just food. “The meal we served today, Molokhia, is a popular local stew. So, we are bringing comfort and hope. We try to think what about what would be encouraging, not just to the body, but to the mind and spirit as well,” says Jeremy Courtney, Preemptive Love’s founder.

Although the need seems overwhelming, the Preemptive Love team sees an opportunity for hope. Jeremy says, “It’s about taking the next step. For those wondering where God is in this moment, I want to ask: Where are you and me in this moment? Can we be that love, those hands and feet, offering a meal, offering care and support in people’s darkest moment? It won’t happen if we sit back. But it can happen if we press in, together.”

If you feel led to help, we encourage you to research the charity of your choice and send them financial support. When you log into your Giving Fund here at NCF, you can browse profile pages for many organizations that are working on the ground in Beirut. If you don’t already have a Giving Fund, open one today in minutes.

Photos: Preemptive Love CoalitionTop: The second day after the bombing, local workers from Preemptive Love Coalition distributed cooked, ready-to-eat meals to those who were unable to leave their neighborhoods in Beirut. They are prioritizing homes where people are ill or has disability that prevents them from leaving home.

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