In early September we made our move to Lebanon. The four months leading up to our move were very busy and we continue to be busy. In preparing to depart for the field we anticipated missionary life to be quite difficult and especially the initial culture shock period. Our time here, however, has gone remarkably smoothly and we can really see how God has been working ahead of us to fill every need.
The greatest blessing we have here is the family of God at Trinity Baptist Church. Although a small church, they have continuously gone out of their way to make sure that we are in good shape and God has used them to help our transition tremendously. They have helped us in the big ways with a temporary place to live, with a temporary vehicle, with showing us were to shop, and more. But the little things are perhaps just as important. For example, one of our new friends here surprised our kids with ice cream one evening and it was just what they needed that day to fill their tanks.
Overall, things have been going much better than expected but we also realize that we are currently living within the “Christian bubble” and this is not the life we signed up for nor desire to stay in. We are anxious to learn Arabic and start making community connections.
This being said, God has already created a relationship that I didn’t expect to see so early into our journey. On the second or third day after arriving we set out to look for furniture stores to furnish our apartment. The stores that we had been told about were all closed but there was another store that was open so we stopped in there. As we looked around and found some things that we liked, Bechara (a Fellowship International missionary) mentioned in passing to the store manager that we are Canadians and have moved for the purpose of helping the people here. Since it was the first store we stopped at, we went to a couple other places but ended up coming back to make an order. As I sat with this manager, I discovered that he speaks some English and he said to me, “I know that when I pray, God will hear me when I’m alone in my own room.” I was amazed at his random comment, especially since I knew he was a Muslim. After that day I have seen him a few more times, and we have taken each other’s numbers and continue to communicate daily. I have told him more specifically that I am not here to help people with the financial issues that they have but rather to point them to the truth that we find in the Bible. He seems very open to this and I can’t help but think that this already may be a “person of peace” that we read about in Luke 10. We hope to continue with this man as God permits and it is a great encouragement to see that people are indeed open to the Gospel here more than ever.
Our first few weeks have been a great encouragement. Starting tomorrow, the kids will be starting the school year and we will begin our Arabic studies. A new chapter for all of us but we are well taken care of in the Hands of God.