Mark Finley, evangelist and assistant to the General Conference president, presented to Adventists and community members in Lebanon the importance of having a relationship with Jesus for spiritual revival.
Over the course of the Friday and Sabbath services, more than 400 people crowded into the basement hall of the Bouchrieh Adventist School to hear Finley’s Christ-centered messages.
“Christ can fill the empty void in your heart, Christ can meet your deepest need, Christ can give you strength to live the life you really desire to live,” he said in his Sabbath sermon.
In an interview Friday, Finley said his goals are to share the Bible with Jesus as the central message, minister to the needs of the people and their challenges, and help people fill their aching void with Christ.
*Houmam Nasser, a non-Christian Syrian, was excited to hear the news that a well-known Adventist pastor would come to Lebanon to share a special message. So he decided to attend the meetings with his brother-in-law.
“Ever since I was a little boy, I felt I was missing something,” said Nasser. “This weekend I found what I had missed for a long time.” He added that after he heard Mark Finley’s message, he met Jesus Christ for the first time in his life.
Hanna Saed, an Iraqi teacher from Bagdad, enjoyed the meetings tremendously.
“I learned so much from Pastor Mark Finley about how to respect and love others,” said Saed.
Levon Maksoudian was born in Lebanon and raised a Seventh-day Adventist. He attended all the meetings and was thrilled to hear about Jesus and Jesus alone.
“When we hear about Jesus, we are hearing about all our doctrines,” he said, adding what a blessing the weekend had been.
Not only were the attendees blessed, but so was Mark Finley. To see people sitting in rapt attention, opening their Bibles, or listening carefully to what God was doing in their hearts was incredibly encouraging to him.
“I am noticing that Christ as the word of God bypasses culture and touches people deep within their beings, so for that I am very, very thankful to God,” said Finley.
The idea for this event was born out of the need within the church to have a broader vision to serve friends and neighbours for Christ. Church leaders in the Middle East and North Africa territory hoped that Mark Finley could bring encouragement and training in revival for service.
“What we used to believe before, saying that it is not possible, people will not come, is not true,” said Gilberto Araujo, director for the East Mediterranean Region. “Almost half of the people who came were not Adventists, and this has shown that if something is well organized, with spiritual content, it is sure to be a turning point for the church in Lebanon.”
The literature ministries department for the Middle East and North Africa Union (MENA) and Middle East University (MEU) also gave away collections of the Conflict of the Ages series, including the Great Controversy, as well as Steps to Christ.
“I hope that this will help the people know more about the Bible and bring them closer to Jesus,” said Alexander Clemente, MEU literature ministries coordinator.
In addition to the weekend services, Finley also conducted training seminars based on biblical and practical Christianity from the books of Acts and John. Mrs. Finley held seminars on the principles of church growth and living a healthy lifestyle.
Rick McEdward, president of MENA, summed up the weekend by saying, “I’m very thankful for the way that God blessed our camp meeting this weekend. We had the largest gathering of Adventists in many years.”
He added: “Elder Finley spoke to the audience about God’s care for people who have suffered through war, disaster, persecution and poverty. His topics were so relevant and beautifully presented to show God’s love. Many people rededicated their lives to the Lord and expressed their desire to serve Him faithfully.”
*Name has been changed