Lebanon/Syria Day Three: A Taste of Hope

by Joy Boone, for the team

We’ve been in Dhour Shweir just three days, yet it feels like home. It is easy to feel God in this place as we wake each morning to the crisp mountain air and breathtaking view of the hills of northern Lebanon. Our gatherings are as richly flavored as the baba ganoush and schwarma we have heartily shared at meals. In our worship this morning Pastor Elias Jabbour, the associate in Latakia, Syria, led a powerful worship that included intercessory prayer. He taught us the Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy) chant to an eastern melody that perfectly punctuated the spoken prayers of the people.

Among the times of listening and learning and worship, we have many opportunities to connect with our constituents and hosts. An impromptu gathering on a rooftop terrace with our team and a few of the pastors evolved into an animated discussion of worship styles and hymn selections. A universal topic of debate indeed! A foundational taste of hope flavors each conversation, blending perfectly the spice of lively debate and the sweetness of trust in Jesus’ power of redemption in a hurting and broken world.

Jeremiah’s prophetic words come alive in our conversations with the Christian young people: “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ proclaims the Lord, ‘plans not to destroy you but to give you hope and a future.’” (29:31)

We see the hope for Syria in Pamela, Ola and the young pastors we now call friends. As Rev. Najla Kassab so wisely commented, “The young people of the church are not just the future of Syria, they are the present.” Thanks be to God.

Joy Boone
Bethel Presbyterian Church, Cornelius, South Carolina

                                                         Consultation participants

                                                        Consultation participants