Vyhmeister also acknowledged that the explosion brought international attention to Lebanon, creating a movement to resolve the country’s political challenges. “We pray that these issues may be resolved soon so that the government can deal with the multiple issues facing the country.”
Larry Lichtenwalter, MEU president, Andrews alumnus, and former professor, explained that the explosion has increased the stress level and sense of helplessness and hopelessness among local Lebanese faculty and staff — particularly those who weathered Lebanon’s civil war as well as the recent socio-economic and political realities. These realities include social unrest, an 80-percent devaluation of the currency, the government’s collapse, and the challenges of COVID-19.
As a result of these realities, he expressed MEU’s continual need for prayer and gratefulness for acts of kindness, words of encouragement, and financial support.
“This is a first for our ex-pat community and students, who have learned a lot about life here overnight,” he said.
Lichtenwalter also described what it was like for himself and others on the day of the explosion.
“Some of our faculty, staff, and campus residents experienced the power of the explosion’s aftershock. Only one student was hurt, when the door she was cleaning slammed against her wrist. It was a sobering moment.
“Students assembled on the campus lawn overlooking the site some three and a half miles below. They were clearly shaken. Some were crying. They were fearful that it was an attack and that there was more to come.
“I was in my office and heard the initial explosion. Looking out the window, I watched the flames and then the second massive explosion. I was in the process of opening the window when the aftershock hit, pushing the window open. It was one of those pressurizing moments when one needs to clear their ears — something that lingered through the evening.