It’s not secret that the refugee crisis is a huge topic in our world. And I’m not here to try to swing anyone one way or another. But its hard to deny the fact that God is moving people toward the gospel around the world, and I’ve come to believe that this is at least part of the purpose He has to be for my travels around the Middle East and Europe.
“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again…but whoever drinks of my water will never thirst again…” Jn. 4
I was able to sit down across from a few students studying for ministry here in Beirut. There were seven of them, each representing a different country here in the Middle East. Because of the nature of their stories, I can’t share their names or countries they hail from. Most are coming from a heavily persecuted background since giving their lives to Jesus. As I listened to their stories, there was a common theme…The love of Jesus.
In all my travels around the world, I find myself discovering the same 3 narratives of humanity. And it doesn’t matter what culture, language and color of the person. Everyone has the same 3 questions: 1) Do I matter? 2) Can someone help me make sense of this life? 3) Can I create the future I ultimately long for? One woman, who had come from a Muslim background, has 2 kids. But early in her marriage, her husband divorced her. You see, in her culture and religion, women don’t share in the same values as men do. And to make it worse, she was a divorced woman. She would often be ridiculed and belittled. She thought God hated her; that she didn’t matter.
She obtained a Bible through a Christian church and started to read. She discovered God’s love for her that she is valued and holds the same worth and status as a man does. She gave her life to Jesus and now is currently in school learning more about God and herself. She is planning to go back to her home country to share the love of Jesus to women caught up in the same oppression that she found herself in. “There’s a need,” she said. “Women need to know the love of Jesus.” It’s the love of Jesus that answers all 3 narratives of humanity. Just read John 4, you’ll see it. The answer to a better world is found in the life of Jesus.
Pray for the Middle East. God is on the move. You wouldn’t believe it.
The doctor came to us on Tuesday to help with translation. He explained that he was from Syria where he had his own clinic and was a cardiologist. He had been here for a year with his wife and hadn't worked in all that time. Lebanon, whose official policy is to give no quarter to the refugees, also has denied him a request to be licensed there.
The day started a little rocky with the first doctor who handled translations. His English skills were not as good as some of the other translators we had helping, but by the end of day he had won everyone over because of his ability to help the doctors. His wife has breast cancer and returns once a month for treatments accompanied by her aunt. He cannot return or he will be conscripted into the Syrian army.
Day 2 of his time with us was even smoother. At about 3 pm two parents brought in their 6 year old son. They brought x-rays and clinical notes, but as the parents explained, there was nothing that could be done to save him. The doctor kept reviewing the notes, but because most of it was in Arabic, he couldn't make heads nor tails of it. Then the Syrian doctor was called over. After going through all the documents, he gave the parents the news. The notes indicated a surgery that could be done and a surgeon, one he had worked with before. The little boy would not be terminal if the surgery was done. That quickly led to one of the local church members contacting the local branch of the UN who would pay for the surgery!
This was a miracle because a Syrian doctor just happened to be there who was also a cardiologist.
That evening the doctor stopped by with gifts for all of the team. The night he and his wife, had made us all crosses using an Arabic form of known typing. And then we started crying. We asked him how we could pray for him. He wanted peace in Syria and healing for his wife. After we finished, he asked if he could pray for us in Aramaic! When this man finished there were few dry eyes in the room.
God is at work in the Middle East, and we have been privileged to witness his hand on the work and on these people.
Today we had a concentrated group of Muslim women waiting to see the doctors. One of the team members looked up to see a non-Muslim woman, from the church in Zahle, engaged in a discussion with these women- all intently listening to her. Curious about what was engaging these women, a team member asked her interpreter what the woman was saying and the interpreter said "Oh, she's talking about Jesus." I watched as she engaged these women, pouring out her heart and the love of Jesus. Soon another Muslim woman came upstairs and when we asked what she needed (since she was not seeing a doctor) she replied that she had come upstairs to hear this woman talk about Jesus! This picture brings to mind Romans 10:14 which says,
Continue to pray for our team as they are serving in Lebanon.