Today we went to Our Lady of Lebanon (and no, I didn't take that photo - just found it on the internet). It is a big statue of Mary and people come from all over to pray there. So we joined some of the people and asked them how we could pray for them. Usually, their first reaction was, “Why would you want to pray for me?” Once we told them it was because God loved them and cared for their needs they opened up, sometimes weeping through their pain. When we first got there we visited the Byzantine Icon Museum, and the artistry really was quite fascinating. Rita gave us a lot of background information about many of the items there, and as we were leaving I felt led to ask her if I could pray for her for anything. She asked me to pray for her intentions. When I asked her what that meant, she sighed and replied, “I am not married”. Enough said – I totally understood her heart. Tim and I worked with the Singles at our former church and I’ve always had a heart for singles, so my heart was moved as I prayed for her. She was so appreciative and couldn’t believe that I would stop to ask her how I could pray for her – she said she felt like God had sent me and she was so encouraged - she asked for my email and wanted to stay in touch. It was precious. We then went out to the courtyard at the bottom of the statue and the first lady I asked if I could pray for her said that she has 1 child but has had 4 miscarriages since then. Well, Tim and I dealt with infertility, so once again I felt like I had a point of reference and definitely a heart that connected with hers. She was so appreciative of my prayers, and there was just story after story like that. Tim spoke with a number of Syrian refugees who had lost family members in the war and were praying for remaining family members in Syria for them to get out. The last group of people he spoke with was Ralph and his cousin, Mark, and Mark’s girlfriend, Ingrid. Ralph said he had everything the world had to offer – lots of money and beautiful women and anything he wanted, but he was very unhappy and unsatisfied. He knows his mother has been praying for him so he has started reading his Bible and found more of a satisfaction and joy in his life since connecting with God in that way. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of hearing people’s stories and joining them and encouraging them in their seeking for God. The first picture below is a picture is of Rita giving us a tour of the museum. The 3rd picture I took from the top of the steps of the statue of Tim and Nicholas in the courtyard, and the 4th picture I took of one of the 3 or 4 cedar trees in the courtyard. They really are quite impressive trees!
We went to lunch at a burger place and couldn't pass up a photo op with the team and our waiter!
We came back to the convent for 1 hour of free time, got back on the bus, went to a mall and got souvenirs and grabbed a quick bite there (where a couple of our guys led a guy to Christ in the Starbucks in the mall), and then went to the slum areas to a church service of almost all Kurdish refugees. There was a famous Kurdish Christian singer there so I understand the people felt very honored for him to come there. The service was kind of inside but really more outside in a broken down building, so it was pretty hot. It was entirely in Kurdish and this time we didn’t have an interpreter with nice headphones, but we were still able to figure out that the lesson was on Phil 2. After the service, we were called upon to pray for people. I remember 2 women who had boyfriends (or husbands – I couldn’t understand which), over in their country (didn't understand which one) still resisting ISIS, but they were both so afraid they would never see them again. Same thing for a mother who asked us to pray for her son. It was a little overwhelming to hear about the pain of a few of the people there and imagine all the pain represented in that service, and then all those affected by the war. I didn’t take many pictures there because it just seemed too personal or just inappropriate to do that. So here’s just 1 picture I took (that's Nicole's pretty head in front of me a little to the left)::
I don't know what else to say - other than please pray for all the people affected by the persecution of ISIS. Please also pray for a couple of our team members who couldn't go today due to a stomach bug they have. Also, Noah is fighting a head cold, so lift him up as well. Tomorrow we will spend the day at an orphanage. Thank you for your continued prayers for us - I feel like you are touching the lives that we are touching because you are with us. Thanks again!
Tim & Jodie