I was raised in a Catholic family and, for me, my faith is my whole life.
My faith helped me so much in my adolescence. I stayed away from bad influences and it made me more mature.
MEET THE PANEL
Name: Joelle Bedran
Lives: Beirut, Lebanon
Works: Air hostess/missionary
At 18 I was helping the handicapped and the poor, but I still lived a normal life like all other young people. I get out to parties and other activities.
I did not really decide to be a missionary, because I feel that this is a vocation. When you love God, you feel you want to give him everything.
In Christmas 2000 I went to the Missionaries of Charity house in Bangalore, India [founded by Mother Teresa].
We met handicapped children left at the doors and old ladies abandoned by their families.
I really loved Mother Teresa, so I felt that this is what I was searching for - helping the poor.
I became a volunteer and have since been to Ethiopia. The Christian volunteers I went with were surprised I was Lebanese. They thought we were all Muslims!
That is why I am a missionary. I tell people about our Christian life in Lebanon, that we have three saints in our country and that we are proud of our faith.
When Pope John Paul II visited Lebanon he said that Lebanon was more than a country, it was a message and a mission.
Total population: 4m
Estimated Christians: 1.35m-1,6m
% Christian: 34-41%
Main churches: Maronite, Greek Orthodox
Issues: Political change
He knew Christians suffered here, especially because we are the only Arab country where Christians have some power.
The problem in Lebanon is bigotry.
I accept everyone as they are. I believe that all religions have to live together to build a good country.
Politics knows no God and love for power can make a person do anything. Here they use religion for their own means and that is bad.