Delivered Twice from Death in Lebanon, Retiree Keeps Serving After Explosion

From an orphanage to Beirut’s fanciest hotel to World Vision’s top ranks, Jean Bouchebel has seen how God does not forsake his church.

When Jean Bouchebel retired at age 70, he was not ready to simply relax.

Instead, he still works full time, and wakes at 2 a.m. for prayer and meditation.

From an orphanage in Lebanon to leadership at World Vision, God’s faithfulness saved Bouchebel multiple times from death during the worst days of civil war. Through his service, thousands of refugees have received the food, clothes, and shelter they needed to stay alive.

But his morning discipline is not monastic piety. Now resident in Texas, the daily hour-long prayer precedes meetings with pastors and partner organizations 10 time zones ahead in Lebanon.

With his son Patrick, in 2012 Bouchebel founded Witness as Ministry after working 27 years with World Vision International, first in Lebanon and then at its headquarters in California. During the height of the war in Syria, when more than 2 million refugees flooded across the border into Lebanon, he could not contemplate the leisure of retirement.

Refugees were living in tents in the snow.

Children lacked adequate footwear.

People were hungry.

Drawing on skills he had learned at World Vision, Bouchebel shipped 40-foot containers to Lebanon, filled with medical equipment, clothing, hygiene kits, and food. Over 1,000 meals a day were provided to needy refugees.

And amid an economic collapse exacerbated by last summer’s explosion in Beirut’s harbor, relief work has extended to the Lebanese. Church partners have served Muslim and Christian without discrimination, giving out nearly 3,000 food parcels to families, providing medical services for 3,600 people, and repairing 168 neighboring homes.

Born in 1942 in the mountain town of Bikfaiya, Bouchebel shared a home with his five siblings, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. …

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