Tue August 4th at 6pm there is a loud noise in the sky.
Joy Basta living in Beirut looks up to the sky thinking it is a thunderstorm but the sky is blue.He realises that something is wrong, very wrong so he runs to protect his family. Just nine minutes later a second explosion caused by 2,750 tonnes of exploding ammonium nitrate sent a supersonic shockwave from the port of Beirut that devastated the city, shattered buildings, injured over 6000 and left an estimated 300,000 people homeless. So powerful was the explosion that people in Cyprus, 150 miles away thought it was an earthquake.
Magdi Basta, Joy’s father, is the pastor of Holy Spirit (evangelical) church in Beirut just 15 minutes’ drive east of the port The church has a warehouse that is two floors (14m) underground, the steel door (7m high) of which was pushed out by the shockwave.
The Holy Spirit church sprang into action quickly. The day after the blast they made 650 chicken sandwiches to give away. Daily from their warehouse they are coordinating food distribution. While giving out the food to needy families, Magdi saw that many families needed help too to rebuild their damaged homes – windows, doors shattered by the blast.
With 15+ years previous experience as a contractor, Magdi saw an immediate need to help people rebuild their broken homes before winter (October). With his son Joy, they plan to turn part of their warehouse into a workshop with tools and equipment to help tradesmen build and repair windows, doors and furniture.
In discussions with SeedFund, an opportunity arose to start a business by equipping the workshop with tools. This would help to meet immediate Beirut rebuilding needs as well as help build an orphanage one-hour south. It would provide employment for skilled tradespeople and allow the training of apprentices in an area of high youth unemployment. The aim is to make it a self-sustaining business.
According to the Economist (Aug 8, 2020), Lebanon has for months been mired in a debilitating economic crisis, with the poverty rate expected to rise to more than 75% by the end of this year. Many businesses have gone bust. It would seem a strange time to start a business. Yet two months ago, Joy Basta felt a prompt to start a carpentry workshop business and now the dire circumstances of Beirut have turned his dream into an urgent need.
We are seeking to raise up to £18,000 to buy the equipment and tools to create a workshop business in the heart of Beirut, with a heart to rebuild the city. Martyn Dunsford, founder of SeedFund says ‘Our family have travelled with Magdi, Grace and Joy and seen their amazing work up close. They have a real love for the people of Beirut as well as working with refugees. It is a privilege for SeedFund to support a business to help rebuild a city’
If you would like to give towards this vision through SeedFund please go to our donate page. All monies raised will go towards rebuilding Beirut by establishing a workshop.
Workshop update –
It is finally coming together! We were able to buy some of the tools we need to start working. We are still looking to buy sandwich panels to split our warehouse into 2 sections (workshop, and food storage). We bought some aluminium and glass also to start working.
We’ve been gathering for 2 consecutive Thursdays right now in the middle of Beirut. My father sharing a word, praying, worshipping together, and eating afterwards with everyone in the area… it has been a huge blessing!
We are still gathering and praying everyday in the morning and going out as teams to Beirut to minister to the people. We cleaned houses and shops from the broken glasses and wood, distributed food and medicine, and moved what was left of a whole house that was damaged right next to the port.
We still welcome your support. If you would like to donate to the team in Beirut, please use the “Donate Here” button below.