From Lebanon with love

Joy Mallouh has been chair of A Rocha Lebanon since 2010 and is now stepping down in to make way for new leadership. We asked him to tell us about some of the highs and lows of his time on the board and his hopes for A Rocha Lebanon’s future. 

In 1996 when Chris Naylor began the process of founding A Rocha Lebanon he asked if I would join. I caught the dream and since then I have dedicated my time and effort working on the by-laws, joining the founding board and working alongside Chris in bringing the dream to fulfillment. Ever since I had spent time living in Germany I had been interested in creation care and wanted to do something for the Lord in my own country. A Rocha was the answer. 

The best times I experienced on the board were with Chris. He taught me a lot from his experience, knowledge and enthusiasm and we witnessed the restoration of the Ammiq marsh and the building of the eco-restaurant. Best of all was working with Christians of different traditions, with Jesus at the centre of our faith. I thank the Lord for the trust that was put in me and his support when A Rocha Lebanon was going through difficult experiences. I have attended several A Rocha forums [a gathering of A Rocha leaders from around the world every three years] and experienced the best fellowship. A Rocha is a family of faith – very humble Christians leading transparent and sincere lives in relationship with the Lord Jesus.  

My hope is that A Rocha Lebanon would influence churches and individuals to stay firm in faith and that God would show his glory through our work in nature, teaching a new generation to love God and his creation in practical ways. I hope more people will join A Rocha Lebanon to support the work and help with our scientific research.  

It was quite a difficult decision to distance myself from my A Rocha Lebanon responsibilities but I will stay dedicated to its cause and vision and give as much support as I can. I suffered a stroke on 17 March 2021. Please pray I will be healed and able to walk again in nature, loving God in the silence and beauty of this planet he has given us as a home. Thank you and may the Lord bless you all. 

Plastic-free Feb beach clean up - ARP

Tackling the ‘Age of Plastic’

Plastic – that useful, resistant and inexpensive material that also ends up in the sea, in our food and in our guts – is hard to avoid. When we read predictions that there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050, we are galvanized to act![2] A Rocha teams took up the challenge of ‘Plastic-Free February’ and tackled reducing single-use plastic in their homes, workplaces and churches.

The French team at Les Courmettes committed to reducing the plastic they use as a community and started by making yoghurt to avoid the individual plastic pots that are the norm. The Dutch team shared ideas and encouragements with participants across the country via weekly emails and an online platform. In Portugal, the team is on their second year of the challenge, having reduced their centre’s plastic waste by almost half in their first February. This year they are building on that success plus sharing tips and getting people out on a beach clean to get plastic physically off the coast.  

Queen, A Rocha Kenya’s Marine Environmental Educator, made it personal. After reading about a Cattle Egret that died from getting tangled in plastic hair, Queen switched from her trademark coloured plastic braids to natural hair. She says she needed to set a good example for the students and community members with whom she discusses the challenges of plastic dependence!

Join with us in reducing our dependence on plastic, whatever the month.