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Amputee Inspires to Win Life's Spiritual Race

Lebanese American Elie Hasbani never dreamed he'd live in Milwaukee, and he never imagined he'd be running a marathon. Read Transcript


Reporter: LEBANESE

AMERICAN ELIAH HISPANI NEVER

DREAMED HE WOULD LIVE IN

MILWAUKEE, AND HE NEVER

IMAGINED HE WOULD BE RUNNING

A MARATHON.

MY MAIN INSPIRATION IS

JESUS.

THIS IS WHY I'M DOING THIS,

BECAUSE OF HIM AND HE

CHANGED MY LIFE.

Reporter: HIS LIFE

JOURNEY BEGAN HALF A WORLD

AWAY IN LEBANON.

THIS BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY,

MENTIONED IN THE BIBLE MANY

TIMES.

AND TO SEE THIS LEBANON,

GORGEOUS.

AND THIS COUNTRY IS REALLY

IN MY HEART.

Reporter: RAISED IN A

CHRISTIAN CULTURE, HE GREW

UP PEACEFULLY WITH HIS

MUSLIM NEIGHBORS.

THESE PEOPLE, THEY WERE

MY -- THEIR CHILDREN WERE MY

BEST FRIENDS.

WE JUST LOVED TO BE TOGETHER

AND HAVE FUN.

Reporter: SOME WERE

PALESTINIAN, NOT LEBANESE.

PALESTINIANS CAME TO OUR

COUNTRY AS REFUGEES.

WE HOSTED THEM.

WE LIKED THEM.

WE SYMPATHIZED WITH THEM.

AND NOW THEY TURN AGAINST US

AND THEY WANT TO KILL US.

Reporter: CIVIL WAR

BROKE OUT IN 1975, WHEN THE

PALESTINIAN LIBERATION

ORGANIZATION AND ITS MUSLIM

BACKERS ATTACKED ISRAEL AND

CHRISTIAN VILLAGES IN

LEBANON.

I'LELI JOINED THE SOUTHxyxy

LEBANON PARTY.

I WANT TO PROTECT MY

IDENTITY AS A CHRISTIAN AT

THAT TIME, AND THE PEOPLE OF

MY COUNTRY.

Reporter: THE LEBANESE

CIVIL WAR TOOK ITS TOLL,

SURROUNDING HIM WITH DEATH

AND DESTRUCTION.

YOU DON'T KNOW IF YOU

WILL DIE TODAY OR TOMORROW.

SO I START HATING MYSELF.

NOT ONLY HATING MY ENEMY.

SO I START DRINKING TO

FORGET.

I DIDN'T CARE ABOUT LIFE.

I DIDN'T CARE ABOUT IF I

WILL DIE OR LIVE.

Reporter: ELI'S

THINKING CHANGED QUICKLY,

AFTER HIS COMMANDER ORDERED

HIM TO DISARM ENEMY

ROCKETS.

THAT'S WHEN A LANDMINE

EXPLODED RIGHT BENEATH HIS

FEET.

I START THINKING, I'M

GOING TO DIE.

HOW CAN I FACE GOD RIGHT

NOW.

HE IS GOING TO JUDGE ME.

I WAS SO AFRAID.

JESUS, IF YOU ARE ALIVE,

SAVE ME.

I DON'T WANT TO GO TO HELL.

Reporter: ELI'S LIFE

WAS SPARED.

HE LOST HIS LEFT LEG, BUT

GAINED SALVATION.

CALLED TO MINISTRY, HE

EVENTUALLY JOINED "YOUTH

WITH A MISSION."

AND HE LATER ATTENDED BIBLE

CEMETERY IN BEIRUT.

AND IT IS HERE WHERE HE

STUDIED AND LEARNED IT WAS

NO LONGER SAFE FOR HIM TO

REMAIN IN LEBANON.

SO HE PACKED UP HIS FAMILY

AND LEFT THE COUNTRY OF HIS

BIRTH AND HEADED FOR

AMERICA.

HE NOW SERVES AS A NATION'S

PASTOR AT MILWAUKEE'S EAST

CHURCH.

HOME TO CHRISTIANS FROM 60

COUNTRIES.

I WANTED TO EQUIP THE

CHURCH, HAVE THE CHURCH

UNDERSTAND MORE HOW TO WORK

CROSS-CULTURALLY, HOW TO

LOVE PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT

COUNTRIES.

Reporter: ELI SAYS GOD

GAVE HIM A MISSION TO DO

SOMETHING BIGGER, TO SHARE

HIS HEART WITH THE NATIONS.

NOT ONLY WITH THE PEOPLE

FROM EAST VILLAGE CHURCH,

BUT WITH THE ENTIRE

COMMUNITY OF MILWAUKEE.

EACH YEAR HE SPONSORS AND

PARTICIPATE IN A CHARITABLE

MARATHON RACE CALLED

"RUNNING FOR HOPE."

THE IDEA CAME AS HE PLAYED

SOCCER WITH HIS SONS.

WHY I DON'T RUN?

WHY I DON'T START AN

ORGANIZATION CALLED "RUNNING

FOR HOPE?"

Reporter: RAISING MONEY

TO SHIP WHEELCHAIRS AND

PROSTHETICS TO PEOPLE IN THE

MIDDLE EAST.

CBN NEWS TALKED TO THIS

YEAR'S PARTICIPANTS.

I WANTED TO RUN WITH ELI

BECAUSE HE RUNS WITH ONE

LEG.

Reporter: HE TELLS HIS

STORY IN THE BOOK "THE GOOD

SOLDIER."

HE HOPES TO RETURN TO

LEBANON SOME DAY TO BRING

WHEELCHAIRS AND OTHER

THINGS, BUT THAT IS UNLIKELY

TO HAPPEN AS LONG AS

HEZBOLLAH DOMINATES THE

COUNTRY.

I WANT TO SHARE MY STORY

AND HELP PEOPLE, BUT THESE

PEOPLE NEED GOD MORE THAN

ANY BECAUSE WE HAD WAR.

THESE PEOPLE ARE WALKING AND

BROKEN AND SUFFERING.

AND THEY ARE STILL

SUFFERING.

THERE IS A LOT OF THE HATE

AND REVENGE.

AND WE NEED GOD.

Reporter: IN THE

MEANTIME, ELI SAYS HE

CONTINUE THE ANNUAL

MARATHON.

AND HE WANTS TO ENCOURAGE

OTHERS TO WIN LIFE'S

SPIRITUAL RACE.

YOU HAVE TO HAVE

INSURANCE AND HAVE THIS

RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST IN

ORDER TO WIN THE RACE.

AND I KNEW IN HEAVEN MY LEG

WOULD COME BACK.

AND I CAN RUN AND I CAN

FLY.

I CAN ENJOY THIS BODY.

THAT'S MY HOPE.

Reporter: GARY LANE,

CBN NEWS, MILWAUKEE.

EMBED THIS VIDEO


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