What a great day! It started with a worship service conducted by dual speakers, one in English and the other in Arabic. They focused on the concept of an individual's personal gospel of Christlikeness as reflected in our speech, conduct and character. From 2 Cor. 3:3 they quoted "You show that you are a letter from Christ...written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts." The concept of a personal gospel can prompt some serious introspective thoughts. Will I cause others to stumble by the "gospel" I live? Or, will I be an encouragement and source of strength in Christlikeness to those with whom I have contact? Remarkably, on a mission here in the Middle East, I have much more confidence in my answers to those questions than I do at home.
Today's excitement really began as the boys we came to serve began to arrive at Dar El Awlad from their "vacations" at home. As we recognized each other from last year, warm familiar hugs and smiles were exchanged. During introductions to our new team members, the boys asked about team members that had not returned with us and told us their own news and about boys no longer at the orphanage. For me, this is a familiar scene replicated at Texas family reunions...sincere expressions of interest and joy among those sharing something of genuine significance.
Well, the calm, peaceful atmosphere didn't last very long before old challenges were reissued on the basketball/soccer court. As teams were selected, I complimented the boys on having gotten bigger, taller and stronger. They returned the compliment by pointing out that I had gotten older. Despite being a little confused by my compliment, I somehow ended up on Ahmad's team and enjoyed a victory in the only game I played for the day...maybe for the week.
Most importantly, in the preparation for this trip, the travel and the few days in Lebanon, I have experienced my Calvary team members' giftedness, humor, sincerity and commitment to purpose. I am thankful for these blessings. For the next days, I look forward with great expectation to what our shared gospel will bring.
Thanks be to God!