Lebanon. My first interest in this world on the Mediterranean coast came when I was a child and my grandma visited the Holy Land. She was walking in a world that seemed so utterly other. She brought back pictures, postcards, small gifts and a lot of stories. She left my grandaddy at home :o) and took off with a bunch of folks from their church. Her spirit of adventure and curiosity and the way she valued other peoples resonated with me.
I can't believe that I have this opportunity to travel to Lebanon. So much of it is due to your generosity in supporting the fundraising events and in church offerings. That is not lost on me. You are sustaining and building relationships with our Lebanese friends. You are strengthening the work of the church not only in Lebanon, but also here in Waco. Giving offerings sometimes seems so far removed from anything real. I hope that you will read the blogs and hear the stories and know that you are kingdom-building. I am so grateful for this opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I am as excited about learning from our Lebanese brothers and sisters as I am about offering anything we bring to them. I know that Calvary's spirit of adventure and curiosity and its valuing of other peoples is a gift from God that echoes in me.
Deciding to go this year has been a journey. I decided on going for the full time when Jim said, "We'll be all right. Go ahead and go. Next summer, I'm going to China for two weeks." This was all with a tone of, you'd better go. I'm not going to think twice about it when I head to China. :o) So, I overcame the hurdle of an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and decided to stick with two weeks. And yes, it helped that Jim's mom, "Nana," is coming to be with the kids. And then, Syria kept creeping closer and closer towards the borders of Lebanon and into my consciousness. This level of political instability isn't my normal. But then there's the call, the invitation the leading. There's a sense that God has welcomed us into Lebanon, a sense that there are bigger things at stake here. My own internal conflict continues to be soothed, overridden and obscured when I focus on the work that God has called us to. The key word there is "continues." The conflict is still present, but so is the certainty that this is the time.
Lebanon. I cannot wait to see your people, to breathe your air. I cannot wait to hear your language and marvel at your land.
Lebanon. Teach us. Receive from us. Give to us, by God's grace.