Lebanon Mission- 2019

Lebanon Day 5-May 22

This is not my first time to travel internationally, and I lived abroad during my service in the U.S. Army. But one thing I have learned is that, while there is much wondrous diversity around the world, some things are the same everywhere you go. And one of those things is… Hump Day!

Hump day has the same feel wherever you are. It’s not the beginning of the week, but it’s not yet close to the end either…it’s Hump Day. All the things you thought you had plenty of time to do early in the week are now taking on a greater sense of urgency because you only have half the week left…it’s Hump Day. You have spent so much energy just getting to this point, only to realize that you’ll need that much and then some to get to the finish line…it’s Hump Day.

It was Hump Day here in Beirut. And I hate Hump Day!

But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good day…a fruitful day…a productive and blessed day. It was all that and more. It was just one of those days that didn’t include many breaks in the action. There was of course the normal school class schedule that the kids, the faculty, and our Mission Team were all attending to. For example, Kim was working with some of the younger classes helping with Art. Tom was working with the newest Syrian refugee children as they were learning Arabic. And I was teaching a Bible class for 2nd graders.

However, each of the other days here we have had scheduled breaks built into the school schedule, and a break between the end of school (2:00 p.m.) and the beginning of homework help (4:00 p.m.). But today, because it is theme week that includes extra projects for all classes that have to be finished by tomorrow and because many things seemed to be behind schedule, there was little to no breaks in this day for us. Did I mention it was Hump Day? Did I mention that I hate Hump Day?

But something extraordinary happened today. We, as a team here, turned a corner with those who live here. And it wasn’t because it was “Hump Day”, but precisely because it was a hard day. On Monday and Tuesday we began the journey of developing a relationship with the children and staff in order to move from being foreigners to being friends. And we did. But today (Hump Day) it seemed to me that we made another move…a more significant move…we moved from being friends to being like family!

Because that is what families do. They help each other when things get in a pinch. They encourage each other when things get hard. They pull together, sweat together, and… yes…sometimes even complain together. But the most important part…the thing that really delineates people as “family”…is that they are indeed in it together! Today, I saw our Team in it together with people that just a few days ago were mostly foreigners to us, and we to them. Today, I saw this community become a family…and it was a beautiful sight!

So while Hump Day might be a universal truth, there is one other truth I have observed universally…and that is love. Love is something that all people need. Love is something that all people respond to. Love is the universal language that transcends all language barriers, cultural norms, and situational challenges. And that, my friends, is the language being spoken here in Beirut at Kids Alive International. It was a language being spoken here before we arrived. It is a language we have been blessed to receive in many ways while here. And it is a language that I am proud to learn, and the men and women that you are supporting on this Mission Team know how to speak fluently themselves!!!

Thanks for being such a great church that you would send us, and support us, in Developing Relationships that Matter…more than you can possibly imagine!!!

--Pastor Rusty