Internship Coordinators

    Since we arrived we have been going nonstop. With Davy’s hospital stay, we had a lot of healing and soul searching and God clinging to do, and it filled our time and minds. At the SAME TIME we had furniture to buy, and we had to learn how to live in a new country. Because of this nonstop life, our relaxation time often involves debriefing with each other, but not much gets put down on paper. Louis has a Word Document he has kept bullet points to remind him of all God is doing, and I asked him to make a newsletter article sharing some of those stories. For two months he has been working in between more and more bullet points getting added, of course. In the next few days or weeks I hope to send that post out to you.

While Louis is working hard to pull together stories I thought I would take the time to share with you a little about my part in our ministry here so far. As I have mentioned many times, the training we attended just before we came here changed a lot about our first six months here. We shared with so many of you all the great opportunities we had seen here in Lebanon when we first visited, now three years ago. Then at our training we had a realization that language had to come first and be our top priority.

Language Learning

So, our first ministry is to learn the language. Knowing the language is essential to our ministering to the refugees at the center, as well as to our helping the team here and discipling people within the churches. As we have written about our lives here, I hope that you realize how essential this piece is to our future in ministry. Language Learning is extremely difficult and taxing on our minds and energy. If every post was about language learning I think it still would not express the amount of our lives that is going into this and how it is accomplishing ministry.

First and foremost is the evidence of God’s provision in our language teacher, Abla. She is amazing! She is a Christian woman who we are able to share our hearts and lives with while learning the language. She probably knows us better than 99% of the people here. She is enabling us for ministry, and is always encouraging. It is easy to get frustrated with what we don’t know, but she always reminds us of what we do know. She has moved from speaking English to us during the beginning of our class to sharing in Arabic only and we use less and less English in class each week. We have 6 hours per week with her, which is a very intensive class. And what she teaches us is instantly usable in our neighborhood and at the ministry center. (This week Louis and I were able to get ground beef from the supermarket!)

In mission work worldwide it is easy for people to perceive the Westerner/American as experts, doers, in charge, and not needing anything. While these could be helpful in the future, we are not experts, we can’t do much, we are not in charge, and we need a lot. We have worked hard to be perceived as learners so that we can build community. If we come in needing nothing, being completely independent, we cannot have a relationship with anyone. Being at the center is a huge opportunity to learn about the culture, the way ministry is happening there, and to continue casting vision for our future once we have a conversational grasp of the language. Also, Arabic is the heart language of these people, so it is essential to speak it so that we can really get to know them.

Internship & Teams Coordinators

Because it is so important to understand Arabic to enter into ministry fully at the center, many visitors to the center from America have not been having productive or enjoyable times here. When we began having debriefs with Pierre Houssney, our supervisor, about where we could fit in and how things were going, we expressed a desire to change the way our visitors were experiencing the center. Because we are American, and brand new, we could see the issues from the American side, but because we already knew a lot about the center and love the team there we could also see the Lebanese side to the issues. So we were given a job that allows us to do ministry now. We became the Foreign Teams & Internship Coordinators.

We are now in charge of approving the people who want to come visit our center and giving them orientation and training pre- and post-arrival. The effect of this added effort was immediate and positive. Our team has been just as frustrated by these Americans who come in and don’t understand or make the effort to work within our system. Our first two interns arrived at the beginning of the month, and everyone at the center LOVES them. Whereas before there was a distance and coldness between the Team and Visitors, when our first intern arrived she was embraced, taken along on a house visit, and an entire family accepted Christ right in front of her! She is establishing herself at the center and working hard every day. Our second intern was a project intern, which meant he came for a month to do a project, and he lived at the center. The other residents at the center loved hanging out with him, they shared meals, and he was well received.

In addition, our trainings with them have been wonderful. We cover culture, language, and ministry life. In the weekly training we do, I am able to participate and share my heart, which has been life giving to me, as all the work Louis puts into the interns at the center every day is breathing life into him. We love these jobs, and are very excited to keep improving the program and the relationship between others who come and our team. Many of our gifts and passions are utilized in this position every day, and there is great opportunity for the future within this job.

These are the two big parts of ministry outside of our home that I am a part of currently. Louis will soon post his own breakdown of all the ministry he has gotten to be a part of here in Lebanon, so stay tuned!!!

Change Of Plans

Next week will mark 5 months of living in Lebanon. On October 31st, only one month away, we will be getting on a plane back to America. This much has been our plan since we bought our round trip tickets last Spring. But there have been some BIG CHANGES to our plans:

I am pregnant!

Last night Louis and I both felt the little flutterings of the new baby doing kicks and flips, so I finally felt ready to post this in the permanent space of our blog. We think we will be due sometime in March, so the big change to our plans is that I will now be in America for at least seven months to have the baby.

    Our main goal while in America is to reconnect with all of you who are making it possible to do ministry here in Lebanon, and also to raise our funding to 100%. We are positive that this change in plans is God’s way of helping us accomplish our goals as well as blessing us with this new gift, which we will be so glad to share with you before we head back over here.

        Keep all four of us in your prayers as we make preparations for the new baby here before we leave in addition to the other items we need to do around our house before we head to the airport. Also, ministry is continuing on every day, and we are working hard on a real update for you all on what has been going on in ministry here. We love you all!

Psalm 41

I am terrible at finishing projects, but here is the final Psalm from our Psalm study, one month later.

Overview

    This Psalm shares that God will take care of those who take care of the poor, even healing that person when he is sick. David is begging God for forgiveness and protection from his enemies. His enemies are gossiping about him and hoping for his death. Even his close friend has turned from him and cast him out. Through all of this David knows that God is still providing for him and taking care of him, establishing him. He ends the Psalm and Book 1 of the Psalms by praising God.

Characters

    The Lord, the poor, David, enemies, his closest friend.

Key Verse

Verse 11 “By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.”

Cross References

2 Samuel 15:25-26 “Then the king said to Zadok, “Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me back and let me see both it and his dwelling place. But if he says, ‘I have no pleasure in you,’ behold, here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him.””

Conclusion

    This Psalm was really hard for me. I read it the day I was supposed to post it back in August, but it was too painfully close to how I was feeling. The day before we had a conflict come up with someone upset at us from our team that completely blindsided me. I am still reeling I realize since I haven’t read any more in the Bible on my own since then. I have continued to read Davy’s devotional every night, and we have had several family church Sundays where we read the Bible and a study together as a family. But reading on my own in quiet time has hurt a lot. I have felt that my “enemies” are shouting victory, that the lack of resolution leaves me knowing they get to feel how they want, and I have to get over it. I just can’t seem to get over it. This was supposed to be people who care for us, and while not our closest friend, it has hurt badly because we have very few friends here. Losing that friendship, though it was shallow and small still, has been a huge loss to me.

    In addition to struggles with people on our team, I have been struggling with some internal issues as well, which I know have been made worse by my lack of Quiet Time. I have been reading a book that has been helping me look at some of my personal issues as well as our conflicts in a Biblical light, and that has provided the healing that allowed me to finally write this post. Once again, my eternal life is secure, and I have victory in Christ. But many times in the moment it only feels like I am beat up and left for dead by those who I expected to take care of me. Expectations vs. Reality all over again, an ongoing learning experience.

    But I do continue to praise God, and there are so many amazing things happening that I cannot live in this shame and sorrow. I must let God heal me along the way. And I must pray for those who have hurt me.

Jesus in the Psalm

    “Here David voices every person’s need for redeeming grace…Such experiences should drive us to David’s Greater Son, who came to provide holistic salvation.”*

Luke 4:17-19 “And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.””

James 5:15 “And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”

    This next quote from my commentary is exactly what I am struggling with, the brokenness of relationships here on earth:

“As image-bearers of a Trinitarian God, we were made to live in community. But sin has fragmented relationships. Christ, who suffered betrayal by a “close friend,” comes to the aid of the brokenhearted (Ps. 41:7-9; Heb. 2:17; John 13:18).”*

Hebrews 2:14-18 “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

John 13:18 “I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.'”

    “Jesus also redeems our emotions. Because God was pleased with his Son, he is pleased with those who are united to him (Matt. 3:17; 17:5). Living in that pleasure enabled Christ to persevere through his mission to save, and it motivates us to obey the Lord with confidence that he will vindicate us (Luke 1:71; 10:19; Heb. 10:13).

Matthew 3:16-17 “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.””

Matthew 17:5-8 “He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the dsiciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.”

Luke 1:71 “that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us;”

Luke 10:19-20 “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.””

Hebrews 10:12-13 “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.”

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*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

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