Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Today was a big day. We had our usual Chapel, then helped the kids as they worked on in their workbooks, then we had a VBS program. But let's go back to the school workbooks and boys and summertime! It does not mix. 
There was a lot of, "this is too hard" or "I don't understand it" or "you do the first one for me to show me how to do it."
I had some Syrian refugee boys at the table I was working with. They may have missed some years of education but they were trying hard to work on their math and English. They wanted me to check their work to make sure it was correct before they went on to the next problem. It was encouraging but made one wonder how much their country has lost in terms of education of the children and how will it recover those lost years. 
After lunch we have a rest period. I know the rest period is designed for the boys but the team have learned to appreciate it.
Then it was play time. A lively soccer game ensued. Nathan showed off his fancy footwork and impressed the boys with how tough he is. 
At 4:30 when the boys went up to their apartments, we were invited down for refreshments at the house of the Lebanese director of Dar el Awlad. Every year they have invited us down to say thanks for coming and supporting them.
After supper we set up to distribute the shoes and gifts for the staff that you so generously have given.
The boys have been asking about new shoes since we arrived. However, a particularly nasty rumor was being whispered that the suitcases were filled with more workbooks and school supplies!! Needless to say, this caused a bit of visible anxiety and I am sure anxiety that was not so visible. 
All was put to rest when they walked into the chapel and saw the bags of shoes. They were all smiles as they received the bags and began to open them. Even before they pulled the shoes out of the bags, they searched for the letters you sent and wanted to see your pictures. Wanted to see who thought enough of them to send shoes and presents.
The first couple of years it was frenetic. The boys could not believe they were getting anything. This year I seem to notice a calmness. A sense that, yes, this is the team from Calvary. This is how they show they love us. It is as if they can depend on Calvary to show our love and support in this way. 
The staff were also appreciative for the gifts, but also something more. Over and over again I heard, "Thank you for your support and encouragement."
This trip, has highlighted how much Calvary returning year after year means to, and encourages the staff. 
The boys graduate from high school and move on, or drop out, or simply don't return but the staff are here serving year after year. It means a lot to the staff that a church at 18th and Bosque; called Calvary Baptist Church, remembers them, prays for them and sends representatives to come love the boys and courage the staff.
Not all of you can physically make the trip, but Calvary, your presence is very much here and very much appreciated. 

Tim Smith

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