It was Tuesday, August 4th around 1 PM. Pastor Deeb of Life Center Church in Beirut was meeting with 34 other church members for prayer. There were 240 children in their building.
“I was feeling anxious,” Pastor Deeb told CBN. “I don’t know what happened to my heart. I was feeling not at ease…I felt something is going to happen, something bad is going to happen.”
Without explanation, Pastor Deeb told everyone to go home.
“I was so rude, I told everyone, ‘Go home, go home, just close the Center.'” Pastor Deeb even began turning off computers, forcing everyone to leave. He described intense feelings of sadness and anger, “as if the Holy Spirit is saying, ‘Go! Go! Go!'”
The church had been cooking and planning to distribute food to the poor, but Pastor Deeb insisted that they go home and cancelled all scheduled activities for the day.
So close the Center they did. Thirty-four adults and 240 children left the building and returned home.
It was only hours later that a fire began at the Port of Beirut, only a two-minute drive from the church, followed not long after by a massive explosion that rocked the city.
At least 200 people have died, and over 5,000 injured from the explosion.
Buildings were leveled, and as many as 300,000 people have been made homeless.
“It took us 12 years to build this auditorium and this church and nice facility,” Pastor Deeb said. “Everything I built in 12 years, I saw it destroyed on the floor – all the ceilings on the floor, all the lamps, all the paintings…”
But it could have been far worse. Pastor Deeb believes that without that prompting to leave – which he attributes to the Holy Spirit – everyone in his church would have died.
The church immediately went to work fixing their kitchen so that they could feed the community.
“The need all around us is huge. People were coming from all over Lebanon to help (clean) this area where we are.”
The church has given away sandwiches, food, and water to the poor and to the workers helping with the clean-up efforts. “Today, we gave away 400 hot meals and boxes…500 sandwiches in addition to thousands of bottles of water. We do this every day.”
“And I thank God for the body of Christ.” Pastor Deeb reported that the church has received donations from around the world. “…every penny we get, we give away, straight away.”