…something to talk about

It’s been two days since we posted, and we have done a whole lot of visiting and checking things out. I’ve been trying to journal a bit, just so I can remember thoughts and impressions I’ve had throughout the day. We actually had a little bit of time off this evening, and upon sitting down back here in our room, Nicolette immediately sacked out. So, while she sleeps, I thought I’d give a bit of a report on the last two days.

Yesterday, we were able to travel down to the south, very near the border actually, to see some of the future plans of one of the organizations here for a school and a clinic in the middle of this “interesting” region. The whole experience was all so very “normal,” despite the evidence we noticed in several villages of damage from the summer war in 2006 with the southern neighbors. Our trip went amazingly well and we had an incredible visit with a faithful Baptist pastor who has been living and working in this tiny village down in this region of Lebanon. Stunning example of perseverance in ministry!

We spent the day today at Beirut Baptist School, which is located smack dab in the middle of a primarily Shi’a neighborhood. 96% of the students at the school are from the neighborhood…how’s that for a Christian school being all about testifying to Christ in the world!!! We then visited that ministry in the slums we’ve told many of you about. It absolutely floored me to see the impact that began with one faithful, intentional Christian who devoted herself to listening to the people living in this slum before she ever started ministering to them…and that is now touching the lives of some 600 families (or around 3,000 individuals)!! We also spent some time at a theological training school and church that experienced some damage from a explosion a few months back. One of the pastors there, Sami Dagher, is a “hero of the faith” that as a kid growing up at Grace Community Church I grew up hearing about over and over again because of our pastor’s close association and work with him here in Beirut. Over and over again, the refrain keeps repeating, “If you are serious about being here long-term, fluency in Arabic is crucial to your effectiveness.” Hearing this and seeing its reality in so many ministries here has galvanized our commitment to this process.

Tomorrow we’re traveling a little bit north of Beirut and back to see an orphanage that really clicks with some of Nicolette’s interests, and then Thursday we’re on a plane to Amman…

posted by: caleb

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