A Space to Dream

Jun 15, 2023

A Look into Manara Youth Center’s Recreational and Spiritual Programs

Rana is a youth worker at YFC Lebanon’s Manara Youth Center. She is passionate about God’s work among the center’s teens, and she enjoys being at the heart of the action. There’s something about being on the ground, feeling the energy of young people, and witnessing the Holy Spirit’s transforming power in their lives firsthand. With teens, there’s much room for creativity and never a dull moment. 

The center is a space where teens can dream.

Rana is involved in recreational programs. While teaching theater and classical singing, she unearths the hidden talents of teens. These teens come from deprived communities with low education levels, so parents only sometimes see potential in their children. Rana is grateful that the center offers teens a space to dream. 

Nada* is a teenage girl who found her passion for painting at the center. She is now studying the techniques and preparing to join the Faculty of Fine Arts. Her parents thought her talent was a waste of time, while at the same time, she was bullied for her looks at school. Rana shared, “As she told me her story, I couldn’t stop thanking God for bringing her here.” Recreational programs are a great way to build rapport and trust. Youth workers and teens form friendships organically, often paving the way for the gospel. 

Teens are finding Christ at Manara Youth Center. 

“Students get attached to me, so they take all my recreational classes, and then, they take the Bible classes,” Rana shared. Rana teaches Level 3 Bible classes, which go deeper into our relationship with God. Teens learn how to read the Bible and extract life lessons. They also learn about daily quiet time and journaling. In addition to these Bible classes, Rana leads a discipleship core group, artistic Bible classes, and Bible movie clubs.

Like all youth workers, Rana is involved in the Friday afternoon youth clubs. She registers teens in this ministry, and she helps Youssef—another youth worker—lead worship with a choir of 18 teens, most of whom are now Christ followers and affiliated with churches. After a youth worker presents a topic, teens form discussion groups. Rana shared: “This year, we adopted a more direct approach to our spiritual programs. At first, we worried that not many teens would be interested. We started with 50 youth; today, we have almost reached a hundred.”

“I no longer need a doctor because Jesus answered my prayer!”

Basma* is a sensitive, timid girl. Since she first came to the center, Basma didn’t miss a class that Rana taught. Then, she joined the spiritual program. She initially hesitated to participate but would come to Rana with questions after every class. After getting her parents’ approval, she went to church with Rana. 

Rana shared, “During her second visit to the church, she told me about a total loss of hearing in her left ear in the past month, so we prayed. The following day, she came to me jumping for joy because she could hear again! She said, ‘I no longer need a doctor because Jesus answered my prayer!’” God revealed Himself to Basma as her Lord and Healer. Today, Basma always comes to Rana with prayer requests.

Youth workers at MYC see teens looking up to them, making them want to refine their characters and be more conformed to the image of Christ. Teens tend to find role models in TV stars and social media influencers, so it’s good to know that we can be good models instead while following in the footsteps of our Lord.