Monday, July 23, 2012

Lebanon Reflections from the Orphanage and Brent

My name is Brent Hamoud and I live at Dar El Awlad in Lebanon.  This summer’s arrival and departure of the Calvary volunteer team bookended the busiest, craziest, and no doubt most exciting two weeks of my life.  On July 13, right in the middle of the summer program, I got married.  To be honest I was anxious about the idea of welcoming and settling a team of 11 people in Dar El Awlad.  There was a lot of demands on my plate including wedding preparations, family and friends arriving in country (five airport trips in four days), managing the emotional circus that precedes this major life change, and most of all trying to make quality time with Ruth (my wife) and attend to her needs.  I knew it would be interesting and I prayed that God would give me patience, self-control, and energy to host and support.  It didn’t take long to realize that God sent the 11 team members at this particular time not to burden, but to bless.

Helpers came alongside me and made sure all preparations were done for the team’s arrival.  We even had a couple hours of spare time!  A great team at the ministry (including Jeremy and Sara) took much load from my shoulders.  The team arrived in high spirits and quickly felt at home and comfortable in the ministry.  The days visiting parts of Lebanon were enjoyable and enriching.  Any annoyances, discomforts, or inconveniences they experienced were left unannounced.  There was no demanding, complaining, or critique of any kind.  When the boys arrived, the team took control of the program and looked as if they had been working with these children for years.  There was structure and there was flexibility.  There was discipline and there was fun.  They took the unexpected in stride and demonstrated Jesus’ words when he said “I came to serve, not to be served.”

Then there was July 13.  The team members were some of the heroes of the day.  They got involved in everything from decorating, to cleaning, to chair set-up, to supervising boys, and even dancing.  Through all the stress of the big day they offered me the smiles, light remarks and encouraging presence that calms nerves and eases pressure.   I could rest knowing that capable, willing hands were on board to set up and take down for my wedding.  July 13 was one of the best days of my life.  I don’t want to think about what would have happened had the Calvary team not been here.

I’ve read this blog.  I’ve seen what team members have shared, and I can tell you that they aren’t telling everything.  The whole story goes beyond what they’ve written and beyond what they’ve shared.  Their presence during the two weeks was one that invited a spirit of humility, joy, and service.  The gospel covered all that they did and was told in so many ways, both in words and deeds.  Ruth and I join the children and staff members of Dar El Awlad in thanking God for this team and bringing them at the right time.  Thank you Les and Lanna, Jen and Josh, Hannah, Tiffany, Myles and Sarah, Trevor, Jason, and Tim.  At times I even regretted that my marriage was taking me away from the team.  It was such an enjoyable group that I wish I could have spent more time in its company.  We are glad that this isn’t the end of our relationship with Calvary and we look forward to what the future holds.  I know Ruth and I are relieved we won’t have to do another wedding with a future team, but hopefully we can still work in some dancing!

Blessings, Brent

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