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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Lebanon 2014 -Part 1-

I had the amazing privilege to go to Lebanon this summer. I was there for two short weeks volunteering at a christian school's summer program. 

The Lord was so merciful in my travels there, and I have such wonderful memories. I enjoyed meeting the local believers and hearing Bible teaching in Arabic. (Kind friends translated into English for me.) The arabic hymns were beautiful as well. I practiced Marhaba (Hello) Kifeek/Kifahk (How are you?) and Shukran (Thank you) frequently and added more words to my limited arabic inventory. 

I do not know where to start in writing about my experiences there.... Before I went, friends  expressed concern about me going to Lebanon. It is true, there are car bombs in Beirut, and different areas are dangerous for Americans, but I was in a Maronite Christian area, so I was relatively safe. Besides, when the Lord is with you, the Creator of heaven and earth, what more protection does one need? 

What I learned from the trip was that the Lord is always with me, even when it seems like I am alone. I had to trust in Him, as I flew from Heathrow to Beirut, navigated the airport, and got my luggage. I am accustomed to being with members of my family, so it was a little unnerving but I was on an adventure! I just had to take a deep breath and pray if I felt overwhelmed. This verse was a real encouragement to me. 

"But the Lord is with me as a mighty, awesome One."  
Jeremiah 20:11

Facts on Lebanon

  • Lebanon’s land mass is the size of Connecticut or Wales. Their population was 4,254,583 in 2010. 25% of the population is under the age of 15 years. 

  • The official language is Arabic, but French and English are widely used. 

  • Lebanon is the only Arab state that is not officially Muslim. Shia comprise 37% and Sunni 22%. There are 18 recognized religious communities: 4 Muslims, 1 Druze, 1 Jewish, and 12 Christian.

  • Lebanon remains the only land in the Middle East where all are legally free to change their religious affiliation. 

  • Believers from most other Arab countries can more freely come to Lebanon for Christian training. Pray for this religious freedom to be maintained.

  • Expatriate Christian workers still have a role to play in Lebanon. Pray for more to be called and enabled to identify with and serve the Church and all Lebanese.

Some areas where the love of Christ can be demonstrated: reconstruction, work with young people, drug rehabilitation, discipleship, and church development ministries.       (from p. 528-530, Operation World by Jason Mandryk)

                                  Wild grapes.

                Byblos Beach. We brought some of the children from the summer school here.

                                                               Anchor by Byblos Beach

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