Today, St. Rafka's Mission of Hope and Mercy (Also Known by the Name: The Apostolate of Our Lady of Hope) stopped off at the Lebanese Educational School in Beirut-Nabaa to distribute gifts of toys to hundreds of Catholic Iraqi refugee children in Lebanon.
A total of 487 Iraqi children refugees, both girls and boys, between the ages of 5 to 16 years old, were filled with joy to receive the Gifts of Hope & Mercy for Epiphany 2017 from the hands of our volunteers: JoanneLee Mhanna, Elie Mhanna and Alain Aoun — members of TeamLebanon, stationed in Lebanon.
The gift distribution was led by our Lebanon Operation Manager, Mr. Alain Aoun, (Notre Dame University Louaizeh - School of Engineering). Many from the local school and our Mission's volunteers helped. By the Grace of God, and through generosity of good people in Colorado, and other states, St. Rafka's Mission of Hope & Mercy brought the love of Jesus to the children of Iraq who are seeking the Savior in the midst of great trial.
Donors of St Rafka's Mission of Hope & Mercy are people who have heard God's heavenly voice through the cries of the poor. They felt the sadness in the hearts of the innocent children and orphans. They courageously responded send a message of hope to the despairing children of Iraq, and the refugees of the Middle East in Lebanon.
These people of good will and concrete acts of charity, become more and more our Response Team. On the other hand, and through the enabled communicator of our stories and founder of our Mission, Fr Andre Mahanna, we become the First Responders Team on the Ground. We were told to work with the power and the blessing of the Church, with the courage of Saint Pope John Paul II, and with the humility, the kindness and the concrete labor of the Saint Mother Tereza of Calcutta.
On behalf of St Rafka Mission of Hope & Mercy, the Apostolate of Our Lady of Hope, we are so thankful and appreciative to our donors and contributors in Denver and the USA. These are people of concern and heroes of Faith. Their generosity shows that they have a cause, and that their cause is to keep Jesus Alive in the Hearts of the many children of the Middle East.
As our Operation Director Mr. Alain Aoun, was telling the kids today: “our donors are the living proof of the real America whose priority is still to show the Face of Christ who cares and sends gifts of love and consolation”. Mr Aoun continued telling the Children to “have faith in the Future, and that they are not alone; that with every gift there is the desire of the giver to tell the children their personal message of love and embrace”. Today in the School Mr Aoun assured the children to “continue their education in Lebanon, that we will do all that is in our hands to keep sending them to school and to help them go to Church”. At the end Mr Aoun continued, “the children who are now in Lebanon are the hope for peace, coexistence, and reconciliation in a Middle East that needs to be rebuild only in the Light of Christ”.
Mr Aoun told the children to “have courage and to regain their strength to dream again in returning home soon. That many people in America will do all that is possible to help them to rebuild homes, churches, other places of worships which were destroyed by DAECH (ISIS). the Christian children in the Middle East will lead the efforts of rebuilding the Middle East to be the PLACE for all the children of Abraham”. Mr Aoun reminded the children of the Christian refugees to “always care for all the people around them regardless of their religion, race or nationalities.”
Our many contributors and Donors, our speakers Bureau in Denver and across the USA, are the angels of Mercy, they heard the cry of the poor and they decided to share the Gifts of Heaven.
In fact, the voice which they heard is not the voice of the children only, nor of the widows only, but also they have heard the deeper Voice of God. It is this Voice of the Divine will for which they listened carefully that enables us all to operate in the name of the Church as the One Mystical Body of Christ across Nations, across Continents to reach the lands of Lebanon and the Middle East, where Christianity must remain a Living Light.
St. Rafka Mission of Hope & Mercy- the Apostolate of Our Lady of Hope, Abouna (father in Lebanese) Andre, both TeamDenver and TeamLebanon, and the various churches congregations and assemblies from Catholic, Orthodox, and Evangelical Traditions in the USA are only few of many other servants who are trying in some how to calm the cries of these children who are horrified and exploited in both body and mind.
We do this through the concrete labor of acts of charity and awareness as St Rafka Mission's teams. We make sure that the children and their respective families are receiving promptly and as frequent as possible the powerful help and aids they need: Food, gifts, clothing, medicine, hygiene supplies and other necessities of survival.
The true Miracle that Fr. Andre and the Teams have been serving all along is simply that they have given an opportunity for Churches in the East and the West of the Earth to be united through working together serving the brothers and sisters across the world through Lebanon. Lebanon has become now the harbor of safety for many Christians and other minorities in the Middle East, and the Hub of hope and Mercy in many works of charity. We are making sure we can offer all Churches in the world this concrete and most needed opportunity to be a sign of Unity through Love and the service of the poor through St Rafka Mission of Hope&Mercy who will act purely, promptly, and with transparency on your behalf.
Here is a little idea about our little TeamLebanon:
St. Rafka Mission of Hope & Mercy, the Apostolate of Our Lady of Hope is formed by a group of young people, mostly prayer groups of young professionals who are called: "The Abana Children”, (The Children of the Divine Father), and many other College Students across the Christian areas in Mount Lebanon who most of them share despite their poverty and limited income and resources, their time, talents and many treasures including their homes lots of time with these thousands of Christians refugees from Irak and Syria in Lebanon.
Next Saturday January 14, 2017, 20 members of our volunteers will go together from Byblos (Jbeil) to Beirut to distribute gifts to over 700 remaining children in other church refugees groups from Syria and Irak.
Our founder, Fr. Andre, tells us always: “Make sure to know that through the gifts and the help you are offering these refugees, you are being the concrete signs of Hope and Mercy and the ambassadors of the donors and the contributors whose generosity and care are eventually creating an everlasting spiritual bond between all the Church members across the world. Especially between America and Lebanon.”
Finally, When we go to classrooms as we did today, or even when we meet with a sick child, when they see the gift in our hand now they exclaim: "this is THE Jesus", "this is THE Saint Rafka who is coming from America".
Before going to visit the children, all we think of is that we are going to meet face to face with pain and misery. Suddenly the children’s fear and sadness disappear and a beautiful beatitude filled with joy and gladness comes upon them and shines through them.
All the sudden, the atmosphere becomes one of great joy and gladness, peace, joy and love! This is the Christmas Miracle: that surprisingly, all sadness and anger are wiped away and now what we see in return is joy from the children themselves.
One last comment I like to add: Fr Andre insists on us that “the gifts we give, the food we provide, the medicine we enable or the cover we ensure, all are the reflection and the indication that the Faith in Christ saves lives, and the love and generosity of the donors are the extension of the Generous Hand of God the Heavenly Father”.
He also tells us that “through our concrete labor and our tried Hope, we are the living expression that when we persist in doing charity, and when we pray to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, wars will eventually be overcome, and all evil will be conquered and the Kingdom of Heaven will be proclaimed to all the people of Good Will”.
St Rafka Mission of Hope and Mercy, The Apostolate of Our Lady of Hope
Distribution Ceremony for the Catholic Iraqi Refugees
Christmas Gift Distribution 2016 - Second Phase:
Date: January 11, 2017 in Nabaa Region of Beirut Lebanon-
Church Organization served: The Iraqi Syriac Catholic Church
Title of the Event: Gift Distribution Ceremony for the Catholic Iraqi Refugees
Location: Beirut-Nabaa Lebanese Educational School (المدرسة التربوية اللبنانية)
Total Number of Children: 487 (aged from 6 Years old to 16 Years old)
·Number of Girls served: 240
·Number of Boys served: 247