Wednesday, March 12, 2014

It’s Wednesday evening here in Beirut and we have had a full day. It has been in the 50’s all day and raining off and on. We were at the Beirut Baptist School this morning, Josh was giving his presentations and I was with the school nurse. A boy came in complaining his knee hurt, it was slightly swollen so school nurse decided she needed to take him to have in x-rayed. She called his mother and told her which hospital she was taking him to and then turned to me and stated, “I will be gone for 2 or three hours, you take care of the children” and off she went. So I got to be the school nurse for a couple of hours. It was interesting, the older children tried to talk to me in English; the 1st and second graders did not seemed fazed when I talked to them in Arabic. I don’t think anyone died on “my shift” so guess all went well!!!!
This afternoon the school took us out for an outing to see the caves at Jietta and then we had lunch at Byblos (reputed to be the oldest continually inhabited town in the world). But the highlight of the day started at supper up in the Seminary cafeteria.
We have been trying to sit with some of the seminary students, or inviting them to sit with us each meal. We have had the privilege of sitting with Syrians, Iraqi’s and Egyptians. Tonight we sat at a table with a student who turned out to be from North Africa. He told us about his conversion from Islam and how his father tried to kill him three times because of his conversion. Finally his father went before the court and disowned him.
After everyone had left the cafeteria, we were still talking and he invited us back to his apartment and served us coffee and we continued to talk. He talked about the problem his church back home is having; the building is too small!! He said that the services start at 9:30 and if you are not there at least by 8 you have to stand. He said some people drive 5-6 hours on Thursday and spend the night just to attend the services on Friday then go home. He talked about how over 2000 people come to services every Friday. He explained how being here in Lebanon and going to seminary as a converted Muslim has given him the opportunity to learn Arabic (not his native tongue) as well as study the Bible. He feels called to go back to his own country and reach out to an ethnic group that is not being reached out to by the church.
We prayed with him before leaving and Josh and I were lost in thought as we walked back to our room trying to process what we heard. How the Lord is using the work here in Lebanon to provide an opportunity for non-Lebanese from around the Middle East to come and study and prepare to go back and witness to their own people.

Tim Smith

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