Population: 5.8 million, 4 million and Lebanese
Arab 95% and Armenian 4%.
87% of Lebanese are urban.
Syrian refugees make up approximately one third of the population of Lebanon.
Interestingly, many Christian Lebanese do not identify themselves as Arab but rather as descendants of the ancient Canaanites and prefer to be called Phoenicians
Lebanon is 54% Muslim (27% Sunni, 27% Shia), 40.5% Christian and 5.6% Druze.
Lebanon is home to 18 recognised religious sects.
Lebanon has beautiful mountains and beaches. The food is considered by many to be the best in the Middle East.
The main language is Arabic but most Lebanese will also speak either English or French.
In some ways Lebanon is a Christian country (the president has to be Christian) but the majority of the population are Muslim.
About 40% of Lebanese are Christian, mostly Catholic. There are also a significant number of evangelical churches.
Lebanon is the most open country in the Middle East for sharing the good news, though this should still be done with wisdom and sensitivity.
Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria. The French demarcated the region of Lebanon in 1920 and granted this area independence in 1943.
Beirut, a beautiful city of 1.9 million, still bears mark to her French history and influence in culture, language and architecture.
The climate is Mediterranean with mild to cool wet winters and hot dry summers. In winter the mountains have heavy winter snow and are suitable for skiing!
The country's 1975-90 civil war resulted in an estimated 120,000 fatalities and devastated the country. This has been followed by years of social and political instability. Sectarianism is a key element of Lebanese political life. Neighboring Syria has long influenced Lebanon's foreign policy and internal policies, and its military occupied Lebanon from 1976 until 2005. The Lebanon-based Hezbollah militia and Israel continued attacks and counterattacks against each other after Syria's withdrawal, and fought a brief war in 2006.
Following the civil war, Lebanon rebuilt much of its war-torn physical and financial infrastructure by borrowing heavily, mostly from domestic banks, which saddled the government with a huge debt burden.
Trafficking: Lebanon is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Eastern European women and children are transported through Lebanon for sexual exploitation in other Middle Eastern countries. Lebanon's artiste visa program enabling women to work as dancers for three months in the adult entertainment industry sustains a significant sex trade. Syrian refugee women and children in Lebanon are at increased risk of sex trafficking.
Long Term Opportunities
There are lots of open doors for ministry in Lebanon. Some of the things we are already involved in are
- Reaching Out
- Bible distribution
- Home visiting
- Making Disciples
- Children’s ministry and Kings Kids.
We have become very involved in reaching out to the Syrian refugees, including opening a new location in the Bekaa Valley. We distribute food, help new refugee families with their basic needs, run children’s ministry and a women’s’ craft ministry, visit them in their tents to pray with them and share the gospel.
In 2013 we established a school that currently serves over 130 Syrian Muslim refugee children who would otherwise have no education.
Compared to other parts of the Middle East, Lebanon has more doctors and hospital beds per capita.
The Cedar tree is the national emblem.
It is the only Asian country that has no desert.
The capital city Beirut, used to be called the “Paris of the Middle East’ because it was at one time a thriving city with a rich culture and attracted tourists from all over the world.
The country’s name is known to be the oldest in the world and has remained unchanged for over 4000 years.
The world’s first ever law school was founded in the city of Beirut in Lebanon.
There are two good recommended Arabic language schools for foreigners in Beirut. One is run by Christians and the other is secular. They offer many different courses from beginners to advanced level.
One is called “Alps” and the second is “Saifi”.
There are also a few private Arabic teachers available who we trust and highly recommend.
There are a wide range of short term outreach opportunities available for teams in Lebanon.
There are opportunities for women who want to serve at the crafts and sewing ministry. (sewing knowledge isn’t a pre-requisite but interest in learning how to sew is)
There are opportunities for ministry with children and youth, reaching out and sharing, literature distribution, church ministry, sports ministry etc.
In the Bekaa valley teams can be involved withvisits to Syrian families, kids programs, teaching (we have a small school), distributing food parcels and through all this to be sharing the good news.