Bruce Balfour's new passion
By Dan Wooding
Assist News Service - 12.9.03
BRUCE BALFOUR, the 52-year-old Canadian evangelical who was acquitted by a Lebanese military tribunal in Beirut September 1, of charges of spying for Israel, has thanked the millions of Christians around the world who prayed for him during his ordeal.
Balfour was finally set free, and flew to London and then on to Los Angeles on September 3; he was planning to return to Canada after a few days in L.A.
In an interview with Assist News Services, Balfour said: "I am unwinding from being the persecuted prisoner to the normal peaceful man of freedom; and I would sure like to thank those 'pray-ers' around the world who prayed for me, because without those prayers I might not have made it . . . In fact, there is a high probability that I wouldn't have.
"I could feel the power of those prayers, especially at times when there was extreme stress and pressure. I knew that the Master was doing something to help diffuse that and bring it down; so for those who sent up prayers for me from around the world, I'm extremely thankful for and I pray a rich blessing on everyone of the lives who prayed for me -- and I hope to meet many of you in the days, months and years ahead."
Balfour, who was the field director for Cedars of Lebanon, a ministry that was planning to replenish the mighty cedar trees of the country, was then asked about how he felt about being treated the way he was.
"Knowing the regime behind this, there was no surprise to me," he said. "If it was the Lebanese people as a whole that did this to me, then I would have been surprised. The only Lebanese people that worked on my case and brought the charges against me were with the Syrians, and they are a small minority in the country.
"I am sorry for [the] Lebanese themselves, and for what they have to go through from this same regime -- because it means that they have to keep themselves silent, and are limited in what they can say, print and do on the TV. They are strictly controlled."
Balfour then revealed that the tree-planting project, to which he had dedicated so much of his recent time, is sadly over.
"The Cedars of Lebanon project, as far as planting the cedars, is finished," he said. "It finished about 9 o'clock in the evening, Beirut time, on July 10 when I was arrested after getting off a British Airways flight from London. That ended it all -- but it has opened up a whole new phase of ministry, which will continue under the Cedars of Lebanon ministry."
When asked what this new ministry would be, Balfour replied: "It will be involved with getting the truth out about what is happening in Lebanon and in Syria, [perpetrated] by this evil Hezbollah-Syria-Islamic destructive force that is tearing Lebanon apart. For it is persecuting, imprisoning and torturing the Lebanese people, and totally destroying their economy. It is Arabizing and Islamizing a Lebanon that used to have a large Christian majority. I will be working on getting the news out, to tell the stories of the persecuted ones -- and, hopefully through this, the Master will bring some relief to those who have been crying to him for help for decades."
He then asked for prayer for his future ministry. "I would ask people to pray for the continued favour with the media, and all the others who are necessary out there to bring this thing forward and get the truth rightly divided and brought forth to those who need it -- so the brightest of lights can be shone on the situation in Lebanon."
The country, he added, "is one of the core central areas of God's land, that he chose to be his forever, and that he [Jesus Christ] is going to return to. Lebanon needs to be liberated. I know that full liberation is not going to come until Yeshua returns; but I think I think there are going to be other forms of liberation between now and then."
Balfour finally asked for prayer for the Lebanese people. "Please pray that God will touch their spirits, because it is difficult to get through to them -- because they have been through so much. They have been raised in an atmosphere of war and hatred, bitterness, revenge, treachery, terror and butchery; and their spirits -- their hearts and souls -- are so seared that it is very difficult to get the truth through into their lives. They need to be prayed for . . . so God can bring forth his light on the people."