Monday, June 11, 2007

The gate is opening

Those of you who have been reading this for a while know of our desire to have work among Palestinians in Lebanon. Well, last week our first team member went there to live.

While our commitment to begin this work has not wavered, we were uncertain of the timing. With the on-going violence in the Palestinian Camp in northern Lebanon, we were uncertain of what we’d find. In faith we flew from Amman to Beirut. The next morning we went south. We were fortunate to have friends in the country working among other people groups to point the way.

For the next 48 hours we searched for an apartment. Our first stop was at a barber shop. The barber has a side job as a “real estate broker”. He called a friend/agent who showed us an apartment. It was the only empty furnished apartment that he knew. Other people showed us a total of five apartments, but, in the end we took the first apartment we saw. On Friday morning we went to sign the contract. Sounds simple. Well, it took 2 hours. First we had tea and sweets. Then we had to see the apartment again. We met the neighbors. We translated the contract and renegotiated the contract. It was pleasant, but exhausting. When we thought we were finished there was a major argument between the agent and the owner over the agen'ts fee. We just sat and chatted with some realitives who had dropped by and pretented we didn't hear the shouting int he hall.

Then we went to open a bank account. More than money is needed. Too many questions. (This was an international bank and they want to make sure that the money is not used for evil purposes.) In the end, we had to gather some more information and go back later.

Everyone we met – Lebanese, Palestinian, expats – were friendly and helpful. We were very encouraged by the reception we received. Around 200 Pal families have fled the fighting in the north and we'll start our work in the area by helping these families with some food.

Then we were back to Beirut on the public bus. Now I know how sardines must feel.

Thanks for your continued prayers for AD as she begins her work among Palestinians in southern Lebanon. She will move into her apartment on Tuesday.

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