Notícias | - 6:43 pm
On the second half of 2018, the first Universal Church in Lebanon was inaugurated, a country located in Western Asia and bordering Israel, Syria, and Cyprus on the Mediterranean Sea, whose religious diversity – 18 official religions – is the largest in the Middle East.
The population is made up of 54% of Muslims, 40.4% of Christians and 5.6% of Druze. The country is a scene of events reported in the Bible. It was there that Jesus performed the first miracle: the transformation of water into wine. Part of Cana of Galilee, the city where the miracle occurred, is located in the Lebanese territory. Tyre and Sidon, mentioned by Jesus in verse 21 of chapter 20 of the book of Matthew, are also Lebanese cities. Between these two cities is Sarepta, where Elijah took refuge and performed the miracle at the widow’s house.
It is also in Lebanon that Mount Hermon is located, where Jesus was transfigured, as recorded in verses 1 and 2 of chapter 17, also in the book of Matthew 17. Pastor Steves Dieguez Bravo, 41, and his wife, Ana Luiza Bravo, 40, arrived in the country two years ago and since then have been working hard to establish the Universal Church on the spot, an old dream of the leader and founder of the Church, Bishop Edir Macedo, as he revealed in an interview with Record TV’s Sunday Special. For 24 years doing the Work of God, the couple already preached in Brazil, Portugal, Mozambique, Ivory Coast, Holland, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and France.
But it’s the first time he had faced with the challenge of getting the Universal’s work in one country.
“It is a total dependence on God: to come only with the faith from above and my wife, with absolutely nothing, to look sideways, to see all the plaques in Arabic and to say ‘my God, lead me.’ It’s very good. I can say that we are other people,” says Pastor Steves.
He says that adapting to the habits and climate was very difficult. In the summer, the temperature reaches 45°, and in the winter it drops to -8°. Unlike the other countries he has passed through, Lebanon has no public transport; most streets have no name, houses have no number, which makes it difficult to search for the desired address.
There are alternative transports, but the country’s authorities do not recommend them. Taxi services are expensive. Therefore, to go from one place to another, the couple must travel on foot, often having to walk an average of 20 kilometers a day. “We often feel like in the days of Jesus and the apostles’ walking days to carry the Gospel.” In Beirut, Lebanon’s capital, there are districts, at first sight, scary and destroyed by bombing. And despite the daily effort to recover from the damage caused by the conflicts and to have to live with the imminent danger, Lebanon is an active and joyful country.