Stories from our field

Noor Fadel from Lebanon: “I longed for real reconciliation”

Stories from our field

Noor Fadel from Lebanon: “I longed for real reconciliation”

A passionate disciple of Jesus with an extraordinary life story, that’s Noor Fadel from Lebanon. Together with his wife, he is active in GlobalRize’s Arab team. When he was twelve years old, dozens of people from his village were massacred by their own neighbors. He could not reconcile that horrible event with faith in a loving God. But that same God did not let him go.

During the GlobalRize anniversary concert, we had the privilege of interviewing this special colleague live on stage. His story left a deep impression on everyone present.

“From the age of eight to 12, I read from the Bible every Sunday in church,” Noor said. “As a result, a deep love for God’s Word grew in my heart. But then the war arrived in our village. We had always lived peacefully together with the Druze, followers of a religion of which the origins are partly Islamic. Our peaceful coexistence changed completely with the advent of the conflict.” Noor told the audience about a Christian funeral that was disrupted by the Druze. “Armed men had been waiting in ambush behind the headstones for the Christians to arrive at the cemetery. The shock was great when they opened fire on the funeral procession. To their own disappointment, the attackers managed to kill only three people. So they went around the houses and killed the firstborn in every house. Our family escaped this tragedy because we were not at home that day.” 

Faith lost

Young Noor lost his faith. “I could not reconcile this terrible massacre with a loving God. I lost several cousins to this massacre. We left our village and went to live in another town.”
Noor turned his back on God, but God did not let go of him. “In our new hometown, our family was invited to attend church. So I ended up going back to church and rediscovered the love of God. The desire grew to return to my village and establish reconciliation between the Christians and the Druze.” However, it would be years before Noor was able to return.

Radio broadcaster

First, he went to work for a radio station that broadcasts Christian programs. “My voice could be heard in the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf States. People were coming to faith through the radio broadcasts! The beauty of it was that I got to visit many of the people who had become Christians. In this way I was able to help them grow in faith. This work also turned out to be a very good preparation for my work for GlobalRize. I gained a lot of experience with Muslims who became Christians.”

Reconciliation of the heart

Meanwhile, the desire for reconciliation between the Druze and Christians in his village did not leave him. By now, 20 years had passed since he and his family had left. “There were governmental attempts at reconciliation, but it stuck to the surface. Real reconciliation can only come from the heart.” Noor returned and decided to be loving toward all his neighbors, no matter what religion they adhered to. “Christians and Druze used to attend each other’s funerals and weddings, but since the massacre, there was none of that anymore. Together with a group of Christians, we decided to restore that custom. If there was a funeral, we went there and condoled with the family; if there was a wedding, we also went there and congratulated the couple. At one point, the Druze started coming to Christian weddings and funerals, as well!”

Filter

Today, Noor and his wife are both involved with GlobalRize. “We are often the first to respond to questions or reactions to our posts,” he says. “I see myself as a filter. Sometimes, Muslims express an interest in the Christian faith. Before I put them in touch with a missionary or evangelist in their area, I try to assess whether their interest is genuine. For a week, I maintain contact with them. Because of my past experience with radio broadcasting, I can judge pretty well whether it is safe to refer them.” 

In his work for GlobalRize, Noor has experienced some very special occurrences.
Very recently, his wife received a message from a Muslim man who was in prison for standing up for Christians. Whilst in prison, the man had a very special encounter.

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