Posts tagged Lebanon
Shoeless in Syria

For the Team, Marilyn Borst

We were five pastors and five lay leaders who came from Oregon, Indiana, Nebraska, California, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. As the team leader, I was the only person who had actually met everyone before we gathered in Lebanon and then headed into Syria for 10 days and 9 nights to meet with congregations and pastors of the National Evangelical (Presbyterian) Church. On either side of our time in Syria, we spent days in Lebanon meeting with Outreach Foundation partners who are doing ministry with Syrian refugees, or, as is the case with Near East School of Theology, training the next generation of leaders to serve the Church in Syria. The ten of us quickly became a family,

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Impact: Divine, Human

For the Team, Julie Burgess


On our second to last full day on this most amazing of trips with The Outreach Foundation to Syria and Lebanon, we found ourselves in Tyre. You can read about King Hiram of Tyre in 1 Kings 5. Marilyn shared that story with us as we walked the ancient ruins of the place, but that is not the text that came to my mind for that day. What came to my mind was something I had read at the Nicholas Sursock Museum in Beirut at the beginning of our trip.

In a room filled with old photographs of Egyptian archaeological digs I found this explanatory sign on the wall. “The Human Scale: In the second half of the 19th century, photographic expeditions to Egypt multiplied, with a view to making an inventory of the Orient. Photography thus became a precious tool for archaeologists and scientists. 

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Jesus Loves His Children

For the Team,  Ron Gatzke

The last leg of our incredible journey began as we left the oldest occupied capital city in the world, Damascus, behind us and headed back to Lebanon in our three-car caravan. Sadly, we left old and new friends behind. Looking back we see a people bruised physically and emotionally by the ravages of war, but expectantly hoping for better days ahead. The young especially struggle with their future and we saw how some seek ways to bring some semblance of life back through music and the arts. One of our members remarked that he was watching the faces of the young women at the restaurant yesterday while several from our group started dancing to the music – they enjoyed what they saw and soon joined in for a taste of life that has passed them by the last six years.

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Loving One Another

For the Team, Rob Weingartner

“Lord, you are great, in your love, in your faithfulness, in your liberation,
and in your healing power as well.”

When a refugee from South Sudan leads a group of Americans in a Damascus church in singing in Arabic the chorus above, something very special is happening. It felt like a gift. The refugee is Johnson George, the name he gave to himself after coming to faith in Christ eighteen years ago. Active in Christian ministry in the Middle East, several years ago he was denied entry into Egypt and sent to Syria. When South Sudan was founded and Syria refused to recognize the new nation and his passport expired, he became a man without a country, one of hundreds of South Sudanese “stuck” in Syria. But how we were blessed by his testimony, the songs he sang, the hope he shared.

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God With Us

by Rev. Dr. Jack Baca

One of the key affirmations of Christian faith is that, in Jesus, God came to be with us. The angel said to Joseph that the child to be born would be called precisely that: Immanuel, God with us. We Christians take our clues for how we are to live from what God did and does in Jesus, and so we, too, go to be with others. This is an expression of love: to do what it takes to be with others. Border crossings can be tricky, as can be the business of getting permission to enter Syria at all, given the current conditions here. But all went well. Representatives from the church met us at the border, and we were welcomed by the two-star general in charge of the border post, ushered into a reception room, and given tea and warm conversation while our papers were being processed. They knew that we were making a hard trip. They appreciated the fact that we had come to be with them.

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