22nd September 2017

Tearfund Latest Prayer Points


International Day of Peace:






Would a football tournament organised by refugees and local youths in a high-tension zone in Lebanon achieve its goals of acceptance and forgiveness?


When more than 60 Lebanese and Syrian youths crossed the play area of a school in Beirut to start a game of football, there was some concern that it could all go horribly wrong.


‘To be honest, we had our concerns that it might end in conflict and we would have achieved nothing, or even made the situation worse,’ said Ramy Darwich Taleb, who works with the Foundation for Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Lebanon (FFRL) <http://tearfund.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=cd19eb0b2a74af14054950f15&id=c774b7c2a7&e=b67d6b82a4> to help young people in the area realise that diversity does not have to mean divided.


Lebanon is one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse countries in the Middle East, and is home to its second-largest population of Christians after Egypt. It has become a place of refuge for both Palestinian and Syrian people seeking to escape conflict. While Lebanon and Syria are not at war, hostilities have emerged between Syrians fleeing war in their country and their Lebanese host communities.


It was the teenagers’ idea to address these tensions through the channel of football. They wanted to put into practice what they had been taught on the Forgiveness Journey programme, which they had just completed. A football tournament would be a bridge-building event, they decided. And when match day came around, five teams of twelve players lined up against each other.


‘We wanted to empower the youth to be peace ambassadors by letting them lead the event’


Given the context, football was a natural choice. ‘The decision to host a football tournament was an easy one to make,’ said Ramy. ‘Football is universal. It crosses cultural and religious boundaries and immediately provides some common ground.


‘It also creates a platform to deal with conflict in a healthy, restorative way and one that is hopefully fun at the same time. We felt it could be effective when used alongside the constructive mechanisms for dealing with anger and hurt that our participants had already learnt about.


‘We wanted to empower the youth to be peace ambassadors by letting them take the initiative in leading the event. Ultimately, our aim was to build relationships between communities, to provide a safe space to do this and to overcome dehumanising and stereotypical perceptions.’


Did the tournament achieve these goals?


‘The competitive nature of football meant that we did have some challenges in ensuring participants remained good spirited, and didn’t act aggressively towards each other,’ said Ramy.


‘But in the end it was a breakthrough event. The host school and another local NGO became involved and the players’ general acceptance and encouragement of each other in both communities was amazing.’


Ramy and the team at FFRL hope the peacebuilding efforts of the young people will be noticed by their families and communities and have a knock-on effect. And when they run the next football tournament, they will aim to include more people and consider making the day longer, as the youth wanted to stay and continue playing.


The final score, for the record, was 65 to the Lebanese. ‘But everyone was a winner,’ said Ramy. ‘All in all, it was a very exciting and challenging day.’


This article originally appeared on Tearfund Learn <http://tearfund.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=cd19eb0b2a74af14054950f15&id=306f655d89&e=b67d6b82a4> .




Please pray



* Thank God for this amazing work, and for inspirational people like Ramy who are building peace in some of the world’s most challenging places.

* Pray for the nation of Lebanon, that barriers of hostility will continue to be broken down and that peace will reign.

* Pray that attitudes towards refugees around the world will change, and that governments, communities and individuals will do more to show them the love of Christ.



A note from...



What an incredible story of how young people were empowered to lead a bridge-building event in their own community. Please pray for Tearfund's peace building work across the Middle East that it would continue to break down barriers of hostility and bring lasting change to communities.


Louise Dean

Middle East Programme Officer









Prayer Item #1


Pray for the 400,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar. Pray for the violence to stop, for Tearfund's peacebuilding work in Myanmar to be successful, and for provision for those who have fled.



Prayer Item #2


Please pray for peace in Burundi following months of political unrest which has led to widespread violence and food shortages



Prayer Item #3


Please pray that a solution will be found to the army worm infestation which is devastating crops across sub-Saharan Africa. Army worms are a type of caterpillar that eat crops before turning into a moth.


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