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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 December 2005, 07:40 GMT
Lebanese Christians: Joelle Bedran
I was raised in a Catholic family and, for me, my faith is my whole life.

MEET THE PANEL
Name: Joelle Bedran
Age: 23
Lives: Beirut, Lebanon
Works: Air hostess/missionary
My faith helped me so much in my adolescence. I stayed away from bad influences and it made me more mature.

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].

YOUNG LEBANESE CHRISTIANS
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.

LEBANON'S CHRISTIANS
Total population: 4m
Estimated Christians: 1.35m-1,6m
% Christian: 34-41%
Main churches: Maronite, Greek Orthodox
Issues: Political change
When Pope John Paul II visited Lebanon he said that Lebanon was more than a country, it was a message and a mission.

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.





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