President's Blog

Caring for Orphaned Girls in Beirut, Lebanon

Many have experienced a short-term missions (STM) experience. Today, I’d like to share some of my own personal experiences from a recent trip to Lebanon as well as the STM experiences of Willowdale Baptist (Toronto, ON), and newly appointed Fellowship International missionary, Kim Doro (City Centre Baptist, Mississauga, ON).

Karim and Rita Anayssi and their girls have been Fellowship International missionaries since 2011 serving at the Cedar Home in Beirut, Lebanon as Executive Director. Cedar Home is a not-for-profit Christian orphanage caring for girls ages 3-16 who have lost at least one parent. The home provides a family atmosphere with spiritual, physical, educational, and emotional support for girls.

When I visited Cedar Home during my recent trip to Lebanon, I was so impressed! By the facility itself, the evident love between the girls and care-givers, and the vision Karim has for further growth and impact. Karim shared the stories of Baby Lucas — a newborn found in a blanket at the front door — and Syrian refugee sisters (ages 5 and 6) who were recent arrivals. This would be a great ministry for many of our Fellowship churches and donors to get involved with. I’d love to talk to you about it.

The Anayssis’ sending church is Willowdale Baptist (Toronto). Recently, the church’s Executive Pastor, Ben Porter, and an STM team visited Cedar Home.

We asked Ben to comment on their trip:

“From May 29th to June 12th, I had the opportunity to lead a short-term mission team from Willowdale Baptist Church which served in Lebanon. We spent months praying, planning, and fundraising. God opened many doors to bring this ministry opportunity to fruition.

“The team came together at Cedar Home in Lebanon. We spent much time building relationships with the 15 girls who live there. We led games, crafts, devotionals, worship and prayer times. God loves these girls so much and though they come from rough backgrounds, they were so loving and caring. God is using Karim and Rita to save these girls’ lives. The vision for expansion and the favour God has poured out on this ministry is nothing short of remarkable. I definitely got the sense that the Holy Spirit is moving through Cedar Home.

“With hearts filled, and eyes needing to be dried, we said good bye for now to all those at Cedar Home with the hope that we will return soon.

“Please keep Karim and Rita in your prayers. God is moving through His people all over the world! I want to thank the Fellowship International staff for their guidance and wisdom in making this life-changing mission trip possible.”

In September 2017, Kim Doro was sent by City Centre Baptist (Mississauga, ON) to Cedar Home. She is serving for several months as a mentor and tutor to the girls in the home as a mid-term missionary. Kim’s story is unique in that she grew up at Cedar Home and is now going back to love the girls. We asked her to tell her story…

“It was many years ago when I first entered the doors of Cedar Home.  Just a few days before my mother's death, at four years old, my two sisters and I were left to be cared for by strangers.  I remember well how I hated that place and the people there.  In that same place I spent my childhood and adolescent years. During the early years, many times I swore to myself that once I left Cedar Home, I would never return or want anything to do with it.

“However, in that same place, I was introduced to my Lord and Saviour — the best gift anyone has ever given me.  I learned about His true and unconditional love. Although I swore never to return, something within me started to feel different.  I knew the impact that place had on my life and at one point I said: "Well, there is a possibility... one day! Maybe one day after I retire and have nothing else to do".   I did not realize how soon that day would come.

“ At the beginning of this year, during a very challenging time in my life, I kept asking the Lord about the reason for all those challenges.  One word was always the answer — MISSION.  I struggled for awhile with the Lord and where I felt He was leading me.  I prayed more, asked more questions, and asked for different signs.  To my amazement, the answer never changed and the reassurance of what He was asking of me was becoming clearer.  God was asking me to retire early, go back to Cedar Home, and work with the girls.   WOW!  I was astonished!  My life was turned upside down!  Talk about when God wants your full attention, complete surrender and unconditional obedience!  At that point I asked God to give me peace and courage to take a leap of faith.  Sure enough, He showered me with what I needed; I stood one Sunday in awe of His work in my life and I surrendered all to Him!

“Here I am after more than 40 years, and am looking forward to going to that same place to serve among the girls using the gifts that the Lord has given me. This time I am willingly going. I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for me, believing that I will be blessed beyond measure.”

Please be praying for Karim, Rita, and Kim as they continue to serve at Cedar Home and impact the girls for Christ.

If you have any interest in connecting or getting involved with Cedar Home, please contact our Fellowship International department. We would love to talk to you about this ministry or any other short-term mission’s initiative you might be thinking about.