The Karkafi Family
Bechara was born and raised in Lebanon, the eldest child in a family with six children. As a child he clearly remembers his search for a way to be accepted by God. At the age of 12 his father passed away. He writes, “I felt very lonely and unprotected during that time; which lead me to feel distant from God.” Bechara saw his mother’s profound faith in Jesus Christ demonstrated even while she struggled under the weight of raising six children as a widow. Just four years later, she also passed away. This loss added to Bechara’s confusion about God and his plan for humanity.
In search of peace with God, Bechara visited the church his mother had attended and vividly remembers asking Christ to save him and provide him with the same grace that his mother enjoyed in life. “That amazing day when I met Christ and committed myself to serving Him for the rest of my life was, and always will be, the dearest day of all.”
Roula was raised in a Catholic family and she came to faith in Christ at the age of 12. She began attending an evangelical church and met Bechara there. She recently completed her Master’s in Business Administration and looks forward to using this background to the glory of God.
After several years of tremendous success in the business world, the Lord laid on Bechara’s heart a desire to serve and glorify Him. He writes, “The Lord’s voice was very clear to me when He said, ‘What are you doing here? Are you going to spend your whole life in building your business… or will you dedicate your heart, soul and body to build my eternal kingdom?’ This was a turning point in my life.” Bechara completed formal studies at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Lebanon and is currently pursuing his D. Min. of Pastoral Theology in Ottawa. He has served as a pastor and church planter for 18 years in Canada and overseas. Bechara’s two main ministry goals are to guide people toward God and to help develop a godly vision of discipleship among church leaders.
The Clementia Learning Center
Countless refugee children confront fear, trauma, loss, and hopelessness each day. In the midst of this uncertainty, where can they turn for support?
In response to the Syrian refugee crisis, the Clementia Learning Center in Lebanon has been providing a safe, stable learning environment to refugee and other underprivileged children since 2014. Many children are unable to attend regular schools because of limited capacity and financial support, age restrictions, or discrimination—making facilities such as Clementia vitally important. The promise of education provides hope, especially for refugee children who have experienced devastating loss and hardship. In the words of one ten-year-old student from Aleppo:
If it weren’t for Clementia I would have been working by now. I never went to school in Syria because of war, so the public school here did not accept me. I am so happy that I am learning how to read and write.
In addition to providing a nurturing learning environment, Clementia is a place of restoration for hurting children, many of whom have seen the realities of war up close. Students are lovingly supported by staff and teachers and are introduced to the healing power of Christ. This past school year, 60 students were enrolled in full-time studies at Clementia, yet 20 students were turned away due to a lack of space and funding. The centre’s leadership have a desire to see a total of 120 students enrolled in the program. Modifications to their existing building in the form of five new classrooms are currently under way to make this possible. This expansion will not only improve the centre’s ability to house the growing student body but also upgrade the existing facilities to reflect a more child-friendly learning environment.
“You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.” -Isaiah 25v4 NIV
God clearly demonstrates his love for the foreigner and refugee throughout scripture and calls us to be ministers of his love to the least of these. Through our partnership with the Clementia Learning Center, we get to help provide refugee children in Lebanon with an education and the opportunity to know Jesus Christ—the ultimate healer of hearts and binder of wounds.