Sunday, March 11, 2007

What a Strange place we live!

We had a fun day today. Three of us went down to the Dead Sea for the day. We climbed up to Ein Gedi and saw where David hung out while he hid from Saul. It was a difficult climb twenty years ago but was a little harder this time. Why was that ?

Then we went across the street to float in the Dead Sea. It was a Friday, so there were many Arabs also enjoying the beautiful spring day. This is where the strangeness enters in. We floated in our modest bathing suits on the salty water. Some Arab men who don’t swim very often don’t bother with swim suits…so they went swimming in their very white underwear. It seemed that these guys were everywhere!! As we left to shower off, I noticed one woman who was covered head to toe. She wore a face veil that covered her entire face and even had on stockings and gloves. (It was probably 85 degrees at the time) As we pulled out of the parking lot, six men lined up in the distance for prayers. It always strikes me that we live in such a strange place. Men swimming in what became see-through underwear, (woe! WAY too much information!) those same men facing Mecca and praying, women covered head to toe in hot weather, Israelis equally as different. I have no doubt that America is incongruent, as well…but we sure do live in a strange place!

Posted by HL who had no trouble getting out of bed today.... well not much.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Gates are Open !!

Some of you might remember that last year we had a Pr.Walk that we titled Fortress Gates. Most of the gates we encountered seemed primarily to be closed. Although that was difficult, we didn’t lose heart because even a closed gate is direction (to go another way) So, we want now to tell you how God has worked in the intervening months. We spent time on Friday with a friend that we have known for many many years. He made several calls to his contacts. It was really his contacts that the Lord used to open several doors to us. On Friday evening, we had dinner with one of the leaders from our organization in Lebanon and their workers who are down south. That was a delightful time and we left encouraged…knowing that they would do whatever they could to help us. We are so grateful for how we see the Body working together for the Kingdom!!

Early Saturday morning we headed south. We had to get permission from the Lebanese government to enter the Palestinian Refugee Camp. We thought we had done all the paper work that needed to be done, but of course, it couldn’t be quite that easy !! Paul and our driver worked and the rest of us prayed. We finally arrived at our destination around 11 AM. After entering the camp, we immediately met with the man in charge of all Palestinians in Lebanon. There are some funny/interesting/exciting/moral of the story lessons that came from that visit but we won’t go into all of that now. Then we visited in a couple of centers where we hope to have some projects in the future. The staff of these centers were very hospitable. We weren’t the least bit surprised by that since that is the nature of Palestinians. They are open to having us work with them in the future. We began making plans together and we are all excited about the months ahead.

Late in the afternoon we settled into a hotel on the edge of the city. Friends of our friend graciously agreed to meet with us for dinner on Saturday night even though they had had a very difficult week moving house. Although they are not with our organization, they have goals similar to ours. Their focus is different from ours, but compatible. They were very welcoming and helpful. They will be a great asset for us in this city. We are so grateful for the team that they will provide for our workers. They have many years history in this area and their wisdom will be invaluable !!

On Sunday we met with another worker and a local man who share our concern for Palestinians. It was exciting to hear all that is happening through these two men.

We left this city and got back to the airport in Beirut early for our flight.

The Fortress Gates are opening !! Local people welcoming !! God is able to do more than we can ask or even imagine! We were greatly blessed by this trip. Ask that we’ll have all the wisdom we need as we begin this work. Ask also that personnel will volunteer for the positions now open. Most of them are short term request…is God asking you to join Him in His work in Southern Lebanon ??