Well today was a great opportunity to get out of the city for the day and to see the countryside of Lebanon. Many people here will work in Beirut during the week and then travel to their property in the country for the weekend. I have always thought that getting out into the countryside gives you a better understanding of the culture in which you are working in. The major cities seem to loose much of their own culture with urbanization going on all over the world and the desire for material possessions that can be consuming. Today as I was setting in a beautiful yet modest home out in the Bekaa Valley the testimonies of the couple that was hosting us gave great reminder of what really matters. We has Americans do not practice hospitality very well. We are afraid to have people into our homes and to share a meal with our guests. Sameera, the old Lebanese lady is the perfect example of what hospitality looks like. I have been blessed to have a mother that is truly gifted in this area as well. Sameera is known throughout the evangelical church here in Lebanon for superb cooking along with her hospitality. Another great thing about being out in the countryside is that the pace of life slows down and the important things like fellowship and laughter help when there is something that someone is suffering with. The old couple has an orchard of different fruit trees that we got to go down and pick a few that were just getting ripe. They will not be able to export there harvest this year due to all that is going on in neighboring countries. Even with all of this, Sameera and her husband are happy where they are at and would not take any amount of money to move into Beirut. It was great to listen to their story and to see where God has taken them in their life, even to Columbia where they lived and worked for several years before moving back so that their girls would not marry Columbians but instead Lebanese men. After enjoying the afternoon eating and picking fruits we traveled to see the cedars of Lebanon. We went to a national reserve where the oldest cedar of Lebanon was. The tree itself is over 3,400 years old. The trees were beautiful and even these have stories of war. Today in going around and this past week I have learned that everyone here has a story about different wars that the Lebanese have gone through and survived to tell their stories and to help rebuild after all the destruction and loss. Tim, Sheila, and I joked all day about the American view that Lebanon is a desert as we were driving through forests, orchards, and vineyards. The Bekaa Valley was amazing and green with all different vegetation. We even caught a glimpse of Mt. Hermon in the south.
Today was just a wonderful day of seeing and learning about Lebanon. It really is such a diverse population that has gone through so much. We were able to take in the beauty of Lebanon. We were able to have great fellowship with an old Lebanese couple. The thing I want to end with today is the need to be intentional about having others over to our houses to fellowship. We need to work on our hospitality because we never know who we are going to help show Christ to by simply sharing a meal and a conversation together. We don’t know who we are going to meet while opening our home. We may even entertain angels without knowing.