Sunday, June 30, 2013


This year's preparations for Lebanon have been much different...there is a sense of familiarity of what this trip is going to look like which is comforting.  We are going to be on the plane for a LONG time! We will greet the boys as they return to the orphanage and immediately begin the non-stop week of play, tutoring (which the boys will not be excited about!), trips to the pool, and excursions to the beautiful coast and mountains of Lebanon.  There is also familiarity in the cuisine to expect: bread, cheese, bread, fresh fruit, bread, hummus, bread, and more bread!

This year there is also a sense of hesitancy to return in the midst of what has been said in the media regarding the crisis in Syria (which has spread into Lebanon).  I have come to understand that this sense of instability is "normal" in Lebanon and trust that our team will be safe. I know that this year's trip means so much to the boys and staff at Dar el Awlad.  It also means a great deal to Calvary that we are returning.  It is so amazing to see the impact of these trips on our church.  Our team of eight represent a church body who love and serve each other in amazing ways!  I am so glad to represent that love at Dar el Awlad.  I'm looking forward to sharing your notes and little surprises with the boys when we give them their shoes this year.  It will be so fun to see the joy in their eyes as they remember your names and faces from last year!  It means so much to them that we continue to come and continue to share our lives with them.  This is just one of the tangible ways Calvary continues to build a strong foundation with Dar el Awlad. 

Last year at this time I really didn't know what to expect. This year as I begin checking the final things off my to do list I am filled with joy as memories from last year flood my mind.  I'm excited to see the boys again and to see how they have changed and grown from last year.  I can't wait to see the Bouchers again and to meet Chad! I'm also looking forward to the memories that will be made with our team this year and the way God will bless and use each one of us. 

Jenn Caballero

Looking Forward

This past March, I traveled out of the country for the first time in my life to Istanbul. I recall coming into the city, drowsy and tired, and seeing the 2nd largest city in the world sprawled across two continents. The minarets burst into the skyline, welcoming me into a land that I realized was certainly not my own, looking nothing like my native Texas. And frankly, I could not have been more excited to be there. When I think about going to Lebanon and visiting Dar el Awlad for the first time, I hope the excitement I felt upon arriving in Istanbul is similar to my arrival in Beirut. Admittedly, there was a little nervousness about going due to uncontrollable circumstances in Syria, but I knew that if I allowed myself to be driven away from going because of violence and the affects it could have on me, I would continually question whether I have the courage to live out my calling as a Christian outside of the stability of America. It is a question that I certainly do not want an answer to. I'm honored that God has allowed me to be in this position at this time during my life to serve whomever will allow me to serve them at Dar el Awlad, and to be served by allowing the narratives of the boys at Dar el Awlad to become a part of my story. Overall, I'm looking forward to an exciting time full of adventures and stories that I will be ready to share when I come back to Texas. Hopefully, one of those stories will be how I got one of them to sing a George Strait song with me.

TC Baack

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Returning to Lebanon and Dar El Awlad

I think I mentioned last year how it reminds me of going to a family reunion.  One has to get through the hand shaking and greeting the adults with “It’s so good to see you again”. Seeing the boys and commenting on how much they have grown and changed takes a couple of hours before everyone feels comfortable; then relationships begin where they left off last year and new relationships are formed.  There are several new boys this year and I can’t wait to meet them and there are new people on our team that are anxiously awaiting this new adventure to which God has called them.  While we are here preparing for our travels, God is preparing our way, and that gives me the most comfort.
I am most excited to see Jeremy, Sarah, Thad, and Chad (which I haven’t met); they are a part of our Calvary family, an extension of us working in Lebanon.  We had an opportunity to Skype with them last week and they seemed really excited for us to get there.  They even had a little shopping list for us to bring:  Texas Pecan coffee, Blue Bell ice cream, Mexican food and a Texas sunset!  They might be a little home sick, but I know God will use this team to encourage them and love on their children.  We will take lots of pictures to share with you.  Thank you for your prayers and support.

Lanna Palmer

Dar el Awlad

Information on the Dar El Awlad Children's Home

The Dar El Awlad Children’s Home provides a home for up to 40 boys, ages three to twenty, who have been orphaned or are from very poor families who are unable to care for them. The boys come from Christian, Muslim and Druze backgrounds, though our staff members are Christians and our main goal is to teach the children the Christian faith and disciple those who make commitments. Kids Alive gives the boys shelter, food, clothing, medical care, education, a ‘mother’ to love them and care for their day-to-day needs, and a living example of Christ’s love. Each child lives in one of five family apartments and is cared for by a houseparent. The apartments have bedrooms, sitting room, bathroom, and kitchen, while the Home also has a central kitchen, chapel, multi-purpose hall, and outdoor play facilities.
Our older boys, aged 16-plus years, live in one apartment on campus called the ‘Bell House,’ which provides them with more freedom and responsibility while still receiving the love and support of a family as they transition to independence.

We consider it vital that we provide the boys with educational and technical training skills to equip them for future employment. Unfortunately, many of the boys arrive several years behind in education, while some have learning difficulties that made them unable to cope with the stress of studying in a ‘mainstream’ government school – which is one reason Dar El Awlad School was started.


S K I L D is a specialized center in Lebanon dedicated to providing individualized support in special needs, counseling and community awareness: a transformational approach to families, children/teenagers, and even professionals in Lebanon who struggle with learning differences. We believe our professionals can help every child and person receive a quality education through various languages (english, french, arabic) and approaches depending on the beneficiaries need, in order to build on their strengths and to address their individual learning needs.We have been asked why do we refer to the term “Learning Differences instead of Learning Difficulties”. A young friend of ours explains it best:
“When you say someone has a learning disability, you are focusing on what they can’t do. When you talk, instead, about a learning difference, you talk about someone who can do anything, so long as they approach it in the right way.”
- Tony, Age 11