MORE Youth Encounters in Lebanon… what next?

The Feast Lebanon held its second day of activities with Muslim and Christian young people on Sunday 6th April in the city of Sidon. Sidon is mentioned a number of times in the Bible, and Jesus himself walked in the district of Tyre and Sidon [Matthew 15:21]. The day in Sidon served as an opportunity for the Muslim young people to return the hospitality they had received when they visited Beirut in March.

The day was titled, “What’s it like to be you?” and included a range of creative activities to address the identity of the participating young people. Perhaps, the activity the young people enjoyed the most involved working through a number of questions in pairs. Some of the questions the young people enjoyed discussing included:

  • What would you normally be doing this time on Sunday?
  • What’s your primary identity? Lebanese? Muslim/Christian? Member of family? Something else?
  • How do you know God exists?
  • Why did God make us, for what purpose?
  • What is the best thing about being a teenager?
  • How do you pray? Why do you pray? What does prayer mean to you?
  • When is it hard being Muslim or Christian?
  • If you could ask God one question, what would it be?
  • What is the most important influence on your spirituality?

As you would expect, a key aspect of the day was lunchtime(!), where the young people were able to deepen friendships that have been formed throughout the two days. We also shared the pictures the young people had shared on “The Feast in Lebanon” WhatsApp group.  Prior to the day, each person was asked to share a photo that somehow represented them. On the day of the event, the young people explained the significance of their pictures. This was a great opportunity for us all to learn more about each other in a creative way.

At the end of the day we asked each young person for their feedback on the events, how their views had changed, and what they would like to do next. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. The young people really enjoyed getting to know each other and breaking down previously held stereotypes and misconceptions. They expressed the desire to talk more about the specific religions of the other group. They also wanted to have more time together, to include more young people and to do joint social activities with their new Christian/Muslim peers.

These two days of The Feast in Lebanon were a pilot. As a result of the success of these two days, the facilitation team is now planning for how The Feast in Lebanon might develop in the future.  We are all excited to see what could happen, and would appreciate your prayers.  Lebanon undoubtedly is in need of creative interfaith youth work, in line with The Feast. In reality, the possibilities are almost endless.

– Guest post, by Joel Taylor and Arthur Brown following World Vision and ABTS’s recent pilot encounter event in Beirut, Lebanon.