It is difficult trying to select what to recount in a reflection. Do I include seeing the faces of the team members as they first encountered Beirut traffic? Do I include the team’s contemplation as they looked out at the Mediterranean Sea from the Crusader Castle walls of Byblos? Do I include the team’s enjoyment of the cool mountain air as we walked among the famous Cedars of Lebanon juxtaposed to the same day’s endurance of the heat and humidity of the coast?
These are all memories of the Lebanon trip. But for me, the stronger memories are of the interaction between the orphanage boys and your Calvary team:
· Seeing the boys’ faces light up as they recognized Mr. Les and Lanna from last year
· Watching as they eagerly introduced themselves to the team members they had not met before
· Seeing it dawn on Josh and Jenn that these “foreign” kids are just like the neighborhood kids that come to our church
· Observing Hannah’s frustration the first day when the boys did not fully participate in the songs and movements she had prepared
· Noting that by the third day, these same children made Hannah beam as they requested their now favorite songs
· Seeing Sarah taking an interest in the neighborhood girls who felt overwhelmed in a sea of boys
· Watching Myles calmly sitting down and helping the boys work through Math and English lessons when they would have rather been outside playing
· Seeing Jason proudly wearing a Lebanese flag “do-rag” which a boy had gifted him as a parting present
· Watching the boys’ riveted attention as they listened to every word of Tiffany’s testimony
· Noticing how the boys lined up in the pool so that Trevor could throw them in the water
But perhaps the most poignant memory could best be expressed in the words of one of the older boys at the orphanage as he described another mission group that had previously volunteered. “I can remember their names. Many people come here for a week or two and then they are gone, and we never see them again.”
Yes, the boys loved their new shoes. They were thrilled with putting them on and seeing how fast they could run! They were so proud to wear their brand new shoes for the wedding celebrations! But more important was the tangible fact that Calvary had not forgotten them. Calvary came back. These boys have been forgotten so many times in their young lives: families wish that they did not exist, but a church in Waco, Texas remembered them and loved them enough to come back and be with them.
Yes, it is an individual we love and care for, but it is also cumulative, all individuals everywhere. In reflecting, I am proud that our church chooses not to limit our love to our immediate neighborhood, but wants to be the active agents of Christ in this big wonderful world we live in.