A Radical Change Toward a Full Conversion

A Radical Change Toward a Full Conversion

For ages, poaching and illegal hunting has been and still is a major problem in Lebanon. It was a survival mechanism during the numerous wars this country has been through. But when the situation became stable, it became one of the worst nightmares for the birds and added to the other problems that our nature is facing such as air pollution, hard waste, sewage water that is mixing with the potable water, and many other problems. Every year, more than 4.9 million birds are killed in Lebanon. This country has a nickname “The Bottleneck” because it gathers the bird migration lines from different places of Europe into one line toward Africa, twice per year during fall and spring seasons.

I live in a town called Kfarhabou located in the north of Lebanon. One of the most famous traditions that my town is well known for is hunting. But sadly, it went way beyond its limit. Poaching became a priority here, and many youngsters were distracted by this act and broke the rules just to have the joy of killing birds and animals in unlimited numbers. This act has pushed many students to leave school or even quit their job because they became addicted to it. Young men sit together and talk for hours. Most of these talks are not constructive, often leading to smoking, drinking, cursing, and adopting many bad habits. They enjoy these acts, so poaching became a priority to them. They not only practice it during the day but also at night, especially because the bird migration is at its peak during the night. They lure the birds with LED lights and calling machines and then kill everything that flies, gamebirds and non-gamebirds. 

This bad habit did not save our youth, but many of them have been filling their free time or replacing their productive time with this outlaw behavior. Therefore, I made the decision to do something about it. I started awareness sessions among youth. I visited their schools, and I started a raptor rescue center where I take them from time to time to show them how much time it takes from my day to take care of wounded birds. I explained that a few seconds of their unexplained joy will cost lots of money to treat the birds medically and a significant time investment to care for them. I even started taking them on birdwatching tours, and I explain the importance of these birds to nature and how amazing our God is who created these birds for a reason. 

I also encourage them to shoot birds with a camera, not a gun. I remind them there are more important things in life to do than hunting and illegal poaching. And I always tell them that this so-called hobby is chaining them as a sin. It’s taking from the time that should be consecrated to God and to be in partnership with him.

This was very hard to do at the beginning. But when the economic situation in Lebanon became totally devastated, they started to realize that they need to think about how to survive for the next period that will come. They started to think more seriously before they decided to go hunting.

Many troubles face me in achieving this radical change and turning it to a complete change: 

  1. The corruption in my country that impacts enforcement of the law and the police soldiers who are supposed to apply the law but often participate in the illegal poaching themselves. 
  1. The gadgets to practice the substitute hobby are not available in every house here (cameras, binoculars). 
  1. The need for medical supplements that we need to treat the wounded birds that some of the youth bring to us (shot or found). 

Therefore, I decided to start my own non-governmental organization and ask for funds to supply all the needs. But due to COVID-19, the procedures to secure permission are very slow. I started to go across the country to spread awareness among the people, especially students. Sometimes I take one of the youth whose behavior has changed as a witness, and we talk about the creation of God and how beautiful it is. It is beautiful indeed and worth caring for.

For Reflection and Discussion

  1. How is creation care a reflection of our calling as Christians?
  2. What steps can we take to break cycles that are impacting creation in a negative way?
2010 BWA World Congress Message

2010 BWA World Congress Message

The Baptist World Alliance is a global movement of Baptists sharing a common confession of faith in Jesus Christ bonded together by God’s love to support, encourage and strengthen one another while proclaiming and living the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit before a lost and hurting world.

At the 20th Baptist World Congress, meeting July 28-August 1, 2010, in Honolulu, Hawai’i:

We came

  • to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church
  • to experience the fellowship of the global Baptist family
  • to feel the security of being embraced by brothers and sisters from around the globe We heard
  • the “Aloha” of the Hawaiian people and experienced their spirit of hospitality
  • the vital importance of living and leading in the anointing of the Holy Spirit
  • that we must reclaim the urgency of proclaiming a liberating gospel that brings about transformation
  • the testimonies of brothers and sisters who have experienced persecution, oppression, marginalization, natural disasters and human-induced disaster

• the challenge to share the power of the gospel of Christ to rescue those living without the hope of Christ

We saw

  • the beauty of God’s good creation
  • diversity in cultural expression, dress and worship styles
  • the unity of the global family and the joy of friendship in Christ Now, in step with the Spirit who gives and redeems life in Jesus Christ, we confess anew that all persons are created in the image of God and are therefore worthy of receiving his redemptive grace.

In step with the Spirit, we renew our commitment to:

  • communicate, in the power of the Holy Spirit, the truth of God in Jesus Christ as the hope of the world. Because the Spirit of the Lord is upon us, we have been anointed to:
    • develop greater familiarity with the teachings of Christ
    • cultivate a rich prayer life
    • bear witness to the Gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ
    • provide examples of godly living reflecting the values taught by the Lord of the church
    • support the values reflected in the UN Millennium Development Goals. Because the Spirit of the Lord is upon us, we have been anointed us to:
  • remove the scourge of poverty and hunger
  • support efforts to provide universal education
  • work for environmental sustainability
  • promote gender equality
  • improve child health and maternal health
  • combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • develop global partnerships Enabled by the Spirit, let us commit ourselves to create an environment in which God’s mercy and truth become evident. Let us shine the light of God’s love in every place of human need.

Keywords

BWA; Creation Care; Discipleship; Diversity; Education; Environment; Evangelism; Gender Equality; Hawai’i; Health; Hunger; Justice; Liberation; Liberty; Mission; Persecution; Poverty; Racism; Unity.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Callam, Neville, editor. Hear the Spirit: Official Report of the Twentieth Baptist World Congress, Honolulu, Hawai’i, July 28-August 1, 2010. McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2010.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Neville Callam, ed., Hear the Spirit: Official Report of the Twentieth Baptist World Congress, Honolulu, Hawai’i, July 28-August 1, 2010 (McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2010), pp. 23-24.

Online Document Full Citation: 2010 BWA World Congress Message; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (2010 BWA World Congress Message).

2010 BWA World Congress Message

Climate Change

BWA General Council Resolution 2008.9

The General Council of the Baptist World Alliance, meeting in Prague, Czech Republic, July 20- 25, 2008;

Affirms the biblical teaching that God created all things and that God’s creation is good (Genesis 1: 1- 2:2), and that God has entrusted the care of creation to humans (Genesis 1:28, 29; 2: 15);

Confesses that humans have often denied or ignored our interdependence with creation and abrogated our stewardship of creation, resulting in misuse of the earth’s resources, environmental degradation, and damage to ecosystems;

Recognizes our failure as Baptists to engage with these issues in an adequate and timely manner;

Calls upon the leaders of the Baptist World Alliance to strongly support and encourage government, corporate and community initiatives to address the causes of human-induced climate change, including but not limited to:

a.) greater use of renewable energy technologies;
b.) caps on “greenhouse gas” emissions;
c.) carbon trading;
d.) greater use of “green” architecture, town planning and transport; e.) encouragement to conserve, reuse and recycle goods;

Urges members and member bodies of the Baptist World Alliance to practice environmental stewardship, and promote education with the purpose of honoring God and enhancing the common good;

Calls upon appropriate Commissions and Workgroups of the Baptist World Alliance to study these issues with the view to making further recommendations to advance global Baptist action on climate change.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Callam, Neville, editor. Baptist World Alliance 2008 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. Falls Church, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2008.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Neville Callam, ed., Baptist World Alliance 2008 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (Falls Church, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2008), pp. 136- 137.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 2008.9 Climate Change; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

2010 BWA World Congress Message

Peacemaking

BWA General Council Resolution 1988.5

The General Council of the Baptist World Alliance has often addressed peace issues, most recently in 1985 and 1986. Again in 1988, as the Council meets in the Bahamas, we:

Reaffirm previous resolutions that have spoken to peace with disarmament and peace with justice, and

Welcome the completion of the treaty calling for the elimination of intermediate range nuclear equipped missiles for the United States of America and the USSR and encourage work toward understandings which will lead to the reduction of all levels of military forces.

We commend the pursuit of the disarmament goals of the United Nations and urge governments of the world to participate in the multilateral disarmament negotiations conducted under U.N. auspices, looking toward the establishment of international security for all.

We enthusiastically support the worldwide profess leading toward a World Convocation in Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, and we encourage our churches to participate in that process.

In view of hostilities between and within countries in the Middle East and strife-torn regions ofAsia, Africa and Latin America, we

Encourage all Christians and other of good will to continue in the quest for good neighborliness and confidence-building measures among nations because we believe such efforts are consistent with the gospel of peace and truth Christians seek to proclaim;

Affirm the efforts of Baptist peacemakers to link together a global network of fellow believers committed to “seek peace and pursue it; and

Call on every Baptist church in our worldwide family to pray that we, as individuals and congregations, will be patient peacemakers in our warring world, bearing faithful witness to Jesus Christ who is the source of peace and justice.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Lotz, Denton, editor. Baptist World Alliance 1988 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1988.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Denton Lotz, ed., Baptist World Alliance 1988 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1988), p. 72.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 1988.5 Peacemaking; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 1988.5).

2010 BWA World Congress Message

Toxic Waste

BWA General Council Resolution 1988.6

God created earth— air, land and sea. Because we are stewards of Planet Earth, we Christians, along with all people of good will, are disturbed by the pollution of land, air and sea. It is profoundly distressing that nations are reported to be dumping nuclear waste onto the soil of developing nations.

Therefore, this General Council, meeting in the Bahamas, July 1988, must:

Alert its member bodies to the need to be increasingly sensitive to the dangers that toxic wastes, both nuclear and industrial, pose for all humanity and for generations to come, and

Call upon Christians, and all persons of good will, to pressure governments and industries to ensure that they neither deposit nor export death-dealing wastes to any place, most especially to developing

countries in no position to handle these toxic materials.

In light of the present situation and the damage occurring, we encourage research on an international and cooperative basis to reduce the risks of disposing of these materials.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Lotz, Denton, editor. Baptist World Alliance 1988 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1988.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Denton Lotz, ed., Baptist World Alliance 1988 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1988), p. 73.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 1988.6 Toxic Waste; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 1988.6).