On August 4, an explosion at the port of Beirut, Lebanon caused great devastation. Thousands were injured and 200 lives were lost. Nine days later, Texas Baptists missionary Julia Wallace boarded a plane bound for Beirut, undeterred by recent events and armed with a call to go and serve alongside Lebanese Baptists for two years.
“When I heard about the explosion, I was heartbroken,” Wallace said. “I love this country and there are so many people here that I know and love. My heart aches for them. They have been through one tragedy after another, which has caused deep sorrow and a sense of hopelessness. I wasn’t sure if I should postpone my journey or continue as planned, but as I prayed about it and sought counsel ... I had an unwavering conviction that God still wanted me to go.
And I’m glad He did—I am one month in and I’ve already seen how God is working to bring hope and healing in the midst of this seeming darkness.”
Wallace, a recent dual master’s graduate from Baylor University’s Truett Seminary and Diana Garland School of Social Work, was a member of First Baptist Church in Waco during her time as a student. She is thankful for the support she received from Texas Baptists through several ministerial scholarships during her time as both an undergraduate and graduate student.
“This generous financial support made my theological education possible, which has helped equip and prepare me to follow God’s call on my life,” she shared.
In 2015, she was introduced to Nabil Costa, CEO of the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD), when FBC Waco partnered with Costa to care for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. God used that connection to open the door for Wallace to pursue a calling to serve in Lebanon five years later.
Now, Wallace is working with LSESD as a development officer. She assists with fundraising and partner relations, mobilizing and connecting with local and international churches. Wallace’s mission work is a joint program as a Texas Baptist missionary and through Virginia Baptists’ Venturer Program. Both networks provide prayer and financial support for her work in the Middle East.
“One thing I love most about the LSESD is their emphasis on holistic ministry,” she said. “In all their ministries they focus on serving people’s body, mind, and soul, recognizing that faithful obedience to God means loving the entire person in an integrated and dignifying way.”
Within her first week in Lebanon, Wallace was able to go and interview several people who were involved in the explosion. After hearing their stories, she shared the following message with supporters:
“It has been three weeks since the explosion, but still this city and this country are feeling its effects. It is a long road ahead to national healing and recovery. But I am even more grateful to be here serving alongside the LSESD. I have already seen the incredible work they are doing to house the displaced, feed the hungry, rebuild schools and provide psychosocial support to those still experiencing the effects of trauma.”
As Wallace continues her ministry in Lebanon, she is thankful for the prayers and support of Texas Baptists.
“To all the people in Texas who have made my move to Lebanon possible through your support and prayers: thank you,” she said. “I am happy to report that God is multiplying your gifts—to both me and the Lebanese Society for Education and Social Development—for the love of others and the glory of His name.”
To learn more about how to support Texas Baptists missionaries like Julia, visit txb.org/txbmissionaries.