Message from the National Director

Maher El Hajj

“For the love of Christ compels us…” (2 Corinthians 5:14). It compels us to serve teens, and it compels them to keep coming. Love is why I kept coming to YFC as a teen. It is why I became a follower of Christ. I had been on the field for ten years before becoming the National Director in 2011, and today, twelve years later, I am still moved whenever I see young people’s lives transformed right before my eyes.

There have been countless examples of God’s faithfulness this past year. We have seen many young people responding to the Gospel–despite the mess in Lebanon: the crumbling economy and education sector, the unrest in the South, and the fears of war. Most young people in Lebanon are fed up, and they want to leave. Everything they and their families had hoped for is gone. Politicians let them down. So what is there left? The answer is Christ.

These teens are finding Christ in our staff, who model His compassionate and incarnational ministry. While He walked this earth, Christ preached the Gospel and fed the hungry. He healed the sick.  Everything Christ did was out of the Father’s love for us. So we, in turn, love young people into faith.

Because we love at-risk youth, we help them find a better future through our program at Manara Youth Center, for instance, through our vocational classes at our Vocational Training Program or through our Bekaa Youth at Risk ministry programs. We help the youth of Zahle find a safe hub at our AXIS Youth Center. We help youth across our ministries deal with their problems at home, their depression, or even suicidal thoughts through our mental health programs. But we don’t only offer them programs. We share our lives with them, so they are intrigued to know about our faith.

This past year, we have had the biggest number of born-again believers across our various ministries, many of whom are from other religious backgrounds. They are going to partner churches and some are being baptized. They are telling their friends about Christ. They are taking bold steps of faith despite the pressures they may face. Many of them have decided to become “volunteens”, or teen volunteers, at YFC. They are being discipled and are hungry to serve God. Discipleship groups are multiplying. Our Training Ministry to youth leaders has grown threefold. And, in the past five years, God has enabled us to start four youth centers in Beirut and the Bekaa Valley. This is not to forget our growing school ministry and social media ministry. 

With this fast-paced growth comes the need to solidify our organizational structure. And that, exactly, has been our focus this past year. Striving toward a more sustainable, steady growth, we have been revamping our various administrative departments and processes including Finance and Accounting, Human Resources, and Communications. By having strong organizational pillars, we are able to support our frontline staff spiritually, physically, and mentally. I praise God for every staff member at YFC Lebanon, frontline and behind the scenes. God has brought together an incredible team to make things happen, and we intend to keep investing in them so that they grow in each of their unique roles.

Going forward, we want to reach more young people across various geographical locations in Lebanon and disciple them effectively. Though the harvest is plentiful, and the laborers are few, God will send the right people when He calls us somewhere new. Like the prophet Isaiah, we say, “Here I am, Lord, send me.” And we wait for His guidance.   

In His service,

Maher El Hajj 

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