A reverberation rattled the complex, and a sudden intense pressure cupped their ears. The ensuing scene was pandemonium, with shoppers franticly racing for the exits.
“When we got outside the mall, to our surprise, people were running back inside,” Raymond said. “We thought it was an earthquake.”
Later, as they drove home, Raymond and his loved ones learned of the explosion over the radio.
Recorded as the most powerful non-nuclear explosion in history, the Beirut blast killed over 190 people and left over 300,000 displaced. The shockwave shattered windows as far as six miles away.
Although his church wasn’t affected by the explosion, Raymond sought to help the city churches whose buildings were destroyed and members were now homeless. Assistance came from an unlikely source.
Logos Christian Church was founded by Robert Ayoub, whose family emigrated from Lebanon to Australia before civil war broke out in 1975. He left the Maronite Catholic faith of his family and became a born-again Christian as an adult. With the help of ABWE missionary Steve Mayo, Robert planted a church comprised primarily of Lebanese expats in the suburb of Sydney in 2017. The church has experienced tremendous growth, expanding to nearly 150 members in just three years.
Naturally, news of the catastrophe deeply affected Robert’s congregation, as many members still have relatives living in Lebanon. One of Logos’ deacons used to attend Raymond’s church, so a relationship between the churches was quickly forged after the blast.
Logos has raised nearly $17,000 (USD) in relief funds for Raymond’s church to use, equivalent to more than 25 million Lebanese pounds due to the country’s crippled economy. But Robert intends to do more than just send money back to his home country—he seeks to send laborers.
“We will certainly be looking to partner with Pastor Raymond and multiple other Baptist pastors throughout Lebanon,” Robert said.
Lebanon is a strategic gateway to usher the gospel into surrounding Arab countries, which are some of the most least-reached regions in the world.
Once COVID-19 travel restrictions lift, Robert and Steve plan on conducting survey trips to Lebanon to scout out missions and church-planting opportunities.
Find out how you can help the churches in Lebanon recover from the port explosion on August 4, 2020.