Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lebanon Dedicated for the Preaching of the Gospel

Members of the Church in the Middle East report that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles dedicated Lebanon for the preaching of the Gospel Thursday, October 22nd. Lebanon becomes the first country in the Middle East to be dedicated for missionary work in recent years. The Church stopped publishing information about the Church's presence in Lebanon in the early 2000s. The Deseret News 2003 Church Almanac reported 139 members in one branch back at the end of 2001. Since this time senior missionary couples have served off and on in the capital city of Beirut, where the country's sole branch is established. Lebanon became part of the newly created Middle East Africa North Area in 2008.

There have not been any immediate plans announced for full-time missionaries to begin proselyting in the country according to member reports from the area. There have been a number of Lebanese who have joined the Church in other nations around the world. Missionary work likely occurs through member referrals in Beirut. Lebanon is the country in the Middle East with the highest percentage of Christians (39%). A little over half the population is Muslim. Members report that the government recognizes the Church and likely has official status. Currently the Church is not recognized by most governments in the Middle East.

The Church dedicating Lebanon for the preaching of the Gospel indicates an increased effort to conduct missionary work in Lebanon, likely the result of the many prayers of members in behalf of those areas of the world which were not yet opened to preaching of the Gospel.

13 comments:

rfelsted said...

I'm glad to hear about the dedication of Lebanon. When the Church created the Middle East/North Africa Area I thought it was a big step toward including this last part of the world into the 21st Century Church. It has grown very rapidly--from 2813 members year end 2007 to 3161 a year later (12.4%) and congregational growth from 25 to 31. I'm sure both figures are much higher for 2009.

backandthen said...

I just can't believe what I am reading.
I am leaving tomorrow (5.00am) for Beyrouth to visit my grand-mother for one week and I really did not think I would find the church there.
The most incredible to me is that I was about to go to bed and I had turned off my computer when I decided to ask my sister if I could use her computer for this quick search. Thank you so much for this piece of information.
I don't know if I'll go to church there because I realy would like to spend some time with my grand-mother but if I should will definitely take some pictures of the members there.

andrew said...

Are you joking? Are you serious? I have known about the branch in Beirut and I,ve heard it has had the same size of about 20 active members for like 20 years. I wonder why this did not happen back when Lebanon was prosperous? I just feel shocked. Yipeeee

andrew said...

What, only three posts have been made here. I thought like 20 or some posts would be madfe here within the first day.

andrew said...

Oh, rfelsted, how did you find out the aria information of the middle east/North Africa area for 2008. I have only been able to find it for 2007 in the 2009 church almanac.

andrew said...

oops, I meant area not aria

Michael said...

How wonderful!

Can anyone find a first-hand account?

rfelsted said...

Andrew, I got that information by calling the Information Management Dept. at Church Headquarters, (801) 240-1000. It will be in the 2010 Church Almanac due out in about 3 weeks at Deseret Book. They'll also have a complete compilation of new stakes since about Oct. 1, 2008 which should come to 55 or so with a couple discontinued. I hope they go back to the earlier format of state and country profiles. Ray

Panama Jones said...

If I'm not mistaken Elder Asay of the Seventy (now passed away) served his mission in Lebanon. It would be amazing to see missionary work return to that country.

Jessica said...

Does anybody have contact info for any church people in Lebanon? I'm moving there in October, and would appreciate having some contact. Thanks!

pianoteacher said...

Does anyone know if there is a ward, branch or even a twig in Beirut, Lebanon? Our son is leaving tomorrow for 5 weeks - job related - and would like to attend meetings if possible. He is staying with Maronite Catholics.

Matt said...

Yes, there is one branch - the Beirut Branch - which is part of the Amman Jordan District. The Church does not publish meeting times or location, but the phone number for the branch president is provided below, taken from lds.org/maps:

Branch President Akiki
961 1-487-7118

Good luck finding the Church!

aeijae said...

I'm serving in the Army currently located at Fort Sill, OK. My superiors placed me as the Liason for a Lebanese soldier working alongside us. We've had many conversations about religion and I even gave him a Book of Mormon which he graciously received. The Work is moving forward.