Testimonies of Growth

Staff members thrive in new roles in 2021

A combination of changing global circumstances and time of strong growth spurred many staff members to take on new roles and responsibilities during 2021. Through their trust in God, they were able to overcome challenges and discover exciting opportunities for growth. Staff members adapted to new ways of serving in their current roles, specializing in new areas and skills, while expanding their ministry capacity.

Antonella Krayem, Lebanon

I have served on the Children’s ministry staff since December 2018, but during this last year, I found many new opportunities, such as serving with the MEC’s Language Academy of Beirut team, contributing to our social media campaigns, and as part of the team that launched our YouTube channel for kids.

The sudden changes due to the COVID pandemic have made this last year challenging, but all our staff members persevered through the season and ended up discovering hidden talents that we didn’t know we had. On a personal level, I discovered that I truly enjoy working in social media and love posting Christian and cultural content that glorifies God. HE is so good and always full of surprises for us!

Haytham Jihad Reslan, Graphic Designer & Communication assistant, Lebanon,

One of my biggest challenges this year was time management—especially after the arrival of our first baby, right after we had moved home! Everyone was understanding and helpful, especially my colleagues in the design and media teams.

This year, we launched our design internship program, which I have been dedicated to since the beginning of the project. It’s a dream come true to be able to help churches through training the believers around us. I also added to my video editing skills, learning character animation and other programs, while also assisting the media team with video editing and photography.

I hope to continue to grow and serve even more than I do now—especially in animation and training believers. I have learned that there is nothing that can stop God from fulfilling His work through us, and that He never stops teaching us new things and developing us “to reach the fullness of Christ” as the Bible says.

Abdallah Mardelli & Ziad El-Helou, church partner, Beirut Bible Church, Lebanon

Though there have been many needs this year, we have been overwhelmed by the way God has enabled us to meet the needs of our church family and the wider community. Through our partnership with Horizons and other Christian outreach teams, we have distributed many food parcels and clothing among the poor. We have also formed a new team that identifies community needs and allocates resources while also providing financial, emotional, and prayer support.

Several people also stepped up and learned new tech skills needed to record and broadcast church meetings, while also helping to distribute Bibles and sharing the gospel with hundreds of people. Many have responded positively, with five new people attending church services. We pray for salvation to come to the people we have reached, and that the new ministries we have started will continue and grow.

Adam, IT Coordinator, Lebanon 

I came to Lebanon from Syria as a teenager, and have served as Horizons’ IT Coordinator since 2017. I studied Programming at an academy, and after graduating, I began serving as the IT Coordinator for Horizons.

2021 was challenging! At first, I was the only person in my department, and there were communication difficulties between teams, but together we overcame these challenges by improving our communication through regular meetings. 

This year I took on the role of Program Manager for our new internship program. I now lead 10 trainee web developers, instructing and guiding them to develop the same skills that I had learned and further their careers – and I’m no longer the only person in my department. The team has become more professional, and I have grown in team management, managing my time more efficiently in order to guide them. I hope that in the future we can build a team of talented developers who can design web and software applications for the ministry.

Rita Wardan Reslan, Children’s Ministry Coordinator, Lebanon

I started out serving with Horizons in children’s ministry, before switching to writing discipleship curriculum for children during the lockdown, when many people within Horizons refocused into new roles and a new season of growth. I remember laughing so hard in 2019, when I felt God calling me to start doing social media ministry. I had no idea that two years later, this would be a big part of what I do. 

I learned new skills from my husband, who is a designer, and took courses in Adobe programs. At first, I struggled to come out of his shadow and trust in my God-given abilities in graphic design. But just a few months later, I now have numerous creative outlets and ways to use my newfound skills, developing content and designs for several social media platforms for Pure Heart, the MEC, our new YouTube kids channel, and a new website for Sunday School leaders.

And yet, in all this activity, God has transformed me from a Martha to a Mary, and I am enjoying every second of it, as I have understood that God doesn’t call the qualified but He qualifies the called

Patil Kazanjian, Administration and Training Coordinator, Lebanon

In 2020-21, the Horizons team adapted to the pandemic and economic crisis by transitioning much of our work to online, which was critical in re-evaluating how we work.  As an extrovert, I found this change hard. I missed being around other people and felt completely isolated at times, asking myself “What am I supposed to do here?”, and “How can I still be productive?”

Previously, I wore many hats, but now I’m learning to specialize in the areas that God is leading me into. Our teams collaborate more now, and thinking as departments has been replaced by action teams for each project or ministry.

It took me a year, but eventually I found peace in working virtually, and have learned that it can be a powerful way of serving. God turns challenges like the pandemic and economic crisis into opportunities, creating new ways of working that we can use to share the gospel and impact lives.

(I’m Lebanese Armenian, and I have served with Horizons for over 6 years, and serve in administration and training coordination.)

Sara Siu, Team Member, ISM Albany

Everything changed quickly with the pandemic. Activities were canceled, and church meetings moved online. Having lived through the 2003 SARS outbreak in Hong Kong, I felt that God had prepared me for such a time as this. I was cautious but unafraid, and so continued to find ways to care for others without disconnecting.

Continuing into 2021, the team at ISM Albany, pressed on with our regular online Bible studies and in-person activities, such as intercultural meals, and hiking and camping trips. I also helped students with food shopping, provided emotional and prayer support, and assisted with outdoor activities. Together, the ISM team and students also served our community by helping out at a food bank, and cleaning a local park. 

Despite being surrounded by bad news, we were able to engage students in new ways,  and harvested abundant relationships with everyone that we reached. I felt that God had placed our ministry in a safe bubble, and I experienced an unchanging God in a changing world.

Bedig Torossian, Horizons Cafe Salesperson & Receptionist, Lebanon

In 2018 I started serving with Horizons as the café coordinator, managing the stock, sales, and activities. In 2020 I enrolled in curriculum development for the Cubs To Lions course and also started making evangelistic videos for social media.

This year, my role expanded into several new areas. I started organizing the MEC prayer ministry, focusing our prayers on Lebanon, where we were able to engage pastors, leaders, and elders from local churches to join us in Zoom prayer meetings. This created a space for churches to start sharing their challenges and needs, intensifying our prayers.

I started a men’s bible study, organized food for events and conferences, and also began doing house visits, sharing the gospel with the people we meet. God is so good—he is always opening new doors and opportunities! 

Nada Jahchane, Ministry Team member, North Lebanon

Though our teams have faced many challenges this year, God has used them to reveal gifts that we didn’t even know that we had. 

We have learned to invest our talents in new ways, such as writing songs for kids ministry, and creating videos that have touched the lives of many people, sharing the Word of God to encourage those struggling with the crisis and pandemic-related fears! 

Additionally, I have traveled on mission trips to Tunisia and Jordan, and have used my gifts in singing and worship to impact the lives of Muslim youth, many of whom heard the gospel for the first time.

I love to serve, and I dream of touching the lives of many people through online ministry. I have already seen how God can use us despite anything that might happen. He is God Almighty and unstoppable!

Jwana Alnajar, Discipleship leader, Iraq

In 2021, the number of women in our discipleship group increased—many more women came to Christ and have a desire to know him more. I have gained much more experience in how to teach people about Jesus and especially enjoy sharing videos about the word of God with others.

Though sometimes challenging, I have spent more time listening to the problems and issues faced by these women, and I have grown in ministering to them, learning how to encourage them more effectively. It is my hope to reach more women and train them to evangelize others. I have learned that I can do nothing without Jesus, but with him I can bear much fruit.