Due to the corona-virus pandemic, we had to switch to a mostly virtual work environment since 16 March 2020.
The majority of work that we do requires being with and around people – whether it is through trauma healing trainings, lectures and bible studies, children’s programs at schools, welcoming visitors to our bookstores and many other programs. This switch to a virtual working environment was difficult at first, but then we were able to get going and the work picked up little by little.
We’re going to share with you the current online running projects and the major achievements that have taken place since the beginning of the corona-virus lockdown.
Trainings on Trauma healing:
As more and more of the world is fighting the new deadly disease and countries are closing doors on themselves, people are in need to connect with others even if virtually.
During this time, our trauma-healing ministry is ready to support others emotionally and spiritually through online trainings on several topics that participants could benefit from during this lockdown.
The topics covered so far are:
- Online Trauma Healing
- The power of self-talk
- Children’s Trauma Healing: Kid’s Guide to Living in Crazy Days
- How can our wounded hearts heal
- How to talk to our children about death
On average, around 50 participants join per session from the region. It is noticeable that the number of participants increases with every new training session we do, as people are getting used to the idea of online learning. This method has also allowed us to reach a wider audience as we have participants joining from Syria, Iraq and Jordan.
To watch the online trainings visit www.hmscenter.org
“The Holy Bible and Lebanon” project
This time gave us the opportunity to finish the content writing and proofreading of the Bible notes of the “Holy Bible and Lebanon” and the 400+ Lebanon related footnotes. In addition to that, we were able to complete almost 100 pages of information about Lebanon related locations, traditions, items and many others mentioned in Bible text.
To know more about this project, click here
MENA center for Biblical Studies
Every year the center holds four seminars, one every quarter. The theme for this year is “Lebanon in the Bible”.
Due to the lockdown, we postponed the first seminar “Biblical Sites in Lebanon: Inventory and religious tourism routes” twice.
Initially we were hesitant to hold it as an online lecture as we thought the lockdown would be for a short while only. However, when it was evident that big groups will not be gathering physically anytime soon, we decided to go proceed with the lecture on Zoom.
We were pleasantly surprised that more than a 100 people turned up for the lecture. That’s why we are encouraged to host online the second seminar of this year under the title of “Jesus’ Journey to Phoenicia, Lebanon”.
To watch “Biblical Sites in Lebanon: Inventory and religious tourism routes” and browse through the previous seminars visit www.biblicalstudies.me
Since people have more “free time” on their hands, they started were looking for productive and fun ways to spend their time. To encourage people to stay home and stay safe, we switched our retails service to be strictly an online one.
We have a wide selection of books for all ages such as Bible stories and activity books for children, coloring books for adults, devotional and Bible reading plans and many more options that people were able to order directly from our online store or through our Whatsapp service.
The online store allowed us to connect more with customers and actually hear their feedback after they have already ordered and experienced the books. We get encouraged when we received messages and pictures from them expressing how much they and their children are enjoying the books they received.
Here are a few:
To shop online, visit shop.biblesociety.org.lb
Bible Bil3arabi App
With teenagers now in lockdown, we had the opportunity to reach out to them in a research survey for the upcoming “Bible Bil3arabe” application.
This mobile application is for teenagers, and we strive to have their input at every step of the process. A group of more than 100 teens answered a questionnaire asking them to evaluate the app concept and the understandability of the new Bible language, written in the Lebanese chat language; meaning that the text is an Arabic one, but written using Roman characters.
We’re happy to see that 79% of the participants are eager to try this new app.
The rest of 21% felt that it’s really odd to have the Bible in such an informal language.
Every new idea that challenges the status quo brings some fear with it. Nevertheless, even some who expressed their dislike/fear of this project also praised our efforts in helping encourage their fellow teens to read the Bible.
This new language will by no means replace the formal Arabic Bible, but we hope it would assist teenagers in building the habit of daily Bible reading, increase understandability of the Bible message, and be a transitional tool for them into the formal and deeper knowledge of the Arabic Bible we all know.
The “Book of life” Bible study program stopped for two weeks at the beginning of the quarantine. Then came back strong with the weekly sessions with all participants and more on board. On average, there are around 50 individuals per session.
While this is not a virtual activity, it is worth mentioning considering the circumstances.
We prepared 1000 relief packages containing food and scripture and partnered with several NGOs, churches, municipalities and others in order to distribute them to those in need.