“LOVE IS WHAT JOINS US TOGETHER” SHARES CHRISTIAN YOUNGSTER FROM LEBANON CHILDREN’S HOME
As international conflict hits the headlines, a young boy from a Lebanon children’s home tells millions of television viewers, “Love is what joins us together.” His message of peace and hope is one of many spotlighted by SAT-7, which broadcasts to millions across the Middle East and North Africa.
“The Lord loves us and doesn’t want us to make wrong choices,” says nine-year-old Bashar. “Love is what joins us together. I never feel lonely when the other boys are away, because the Lord is by my side.”
Bashar is one of several children interviewed in the documentary Because You Are with Them, which sheds light on the life of children at Dar Al Awlad (Near East Boys’ Home) in Mansourieh, Lebanon. “Living here is good, because there are people who care for us, love us, and teach us God’s Word,” Bashar says. Asked his favourite memory, he says, “When I asked the Lord to come into my life.”
In the documentary, which shows a joy-filled Christmas event at the children’s home, Bashar’s inspiring hope in the face of adversity is echoed by others. “My future will be a good one, because Jesus will help me,” says 10-year-old Ibrahim. “The other boys here are like my brothers. We are like a family. Our carer is like a mother to me.” But, Ibrahim says, he worries about his own family, who are living in a tent in difficult conditions. “I pray that the Lord will provide a house for them to be safe from wind and cold. I pray that I can grow up and find work as a driver to help my family.”
Manager Denise Dagher explains the facility is home to 24 boys who live in three apartments. Each apartment has a dedicated carer, who looks after the children and prays with them at night, “just like any other family,” Dagher says. The manager herself lost her father at age 13. “It was difficult,” she says. “My mother worked long hours to support us. I felt the struggle. I got married, and my own husband died when our children were little. But the Lord stood by me and helped me. He put people in my life to help me, and without them I wouldn’t be here now.
“It is my calling to be here, because I believe we must help the boys learn that God has a plan for each one of them, and He will achieve it. We try to make the children feel valued and respected.” The children’s home also houses a primary school, which opens its doors to more than 100 local and migrant children who cannot afford school fees elsewhere, offering them an education alongside the residents.
While the short-term impact of growing up surrounded by God’s love is clear, another moving interview shows the effects are long-lasting. George, who lived at Dar Al Awlad until he was 16, says, “I used to be ashamed to say I was raised in the orphanage, but when I grew up, I realised how much this orphanage helped me. I’m proud to have been raised here.”
George shares that when he was young, he wondered why people who did not know him cared enough to visit him at the children’s home. “But when I grew up,” he says, “I realised that it wasn’t them. It was the Holy Spirit within them.”
Because You Are with Them was shown on SAT-7 KIDS, one of four SAT-7 channels that broadcast programs filled with Christ’s light across the Middle East and North Africa. The network’s shows are made by Middle Easterners and never criticise other religions, instead promoting peace, tolerance, and human rights.