Winter in Lebanon is a curious thing. We had news that this winter could be the worst Lebanon has seen in 100 years. However, so far, we have had only one short bit of bad weather. I am not complaining; I’m actually very grateful it hasn’t been bad. There are many reasons I am grateful but one in particular is that I am not very good when it comes to cold weather. What I have found here though is that even if the actual temperatures are not very bad the cold that is here seems to be a damp cold that just lingers. Maybe it’s because the homes are built to hold in the cold because the summers here are so warm or maybe it’s just that the heating systems are so different from those I was used to growing up. Either way, it is hard to get used to the cold that settles in my bones and never seems to leave. I have become accustomed to wearing layers and always having a blanket when I am at home, or simply never taking my coat off when I go anywhere. Often, if I am home during the day I wear my coat! I am very grateful to have a roof over my head and a heater. I would never dream of complaining when there are so many who are struggling to make it through the winter with much less. I simply want to share about what my experience has been during the winter since it’s my first in Lebanon.
On a lighter note, we went to have my car washed the other day and as we were sitting in the outside waiting area (on one of the warmer days in winter), I smelled something that made me think of trips to the zoo when I was young. I looked around and couldn’t figure out from where the smell came. Then I turned to my right and looked up and saw this.
That’s right, a monkey. Now, you may ask, why is there a monkey in a cage at a gas station/car wash? My answer, I have no idea. It was the strangest thing! The monkey had Lebanese bread in the cage and some candy wrappers so it has a very interesting diet. It was huddled at one point in the corner of the cage under a jacket, then when it saw me watching, he came out and started running back and forth in the cage and jumping up on it. I think at one point he smiled at me too, but I was never sure if it was a smile or a grimace, like he wanted to jump at me. Yikes! Anyway, it provided good entertainment as we had a long wait that day. My husband told me later that if I wasn’t home one day and he wondered where I was he would come check at the car wash to see if I was with my new friend. He would. ☺
A couple of Sundays ago we were thinking of where to eat for lunch and I told my husband I had seen a sign for Chili’s somewhere when I was out one day. I asked him if he knew if there was one in Lebanon and he said yes, that he had been to one before. I wanted to say, WHAT, there is a Chili’s in Lebanon and you NEVER told me?! I LOVE Chili’s and used to go there quite a bit when living in Atlanta. My mom and a friend usually go there once a week for lunch and every time she tells me she’s been there I feel homesick for Chili’s. So, that particular Sunday I had my Chili’s fix. It was SO good and tasted like a little piece of home. I also found out they do have Chili’s famous chips and salsa and though we didn’t get them that time, we will definitely get them the next time!
Things have been quite busy for us lately, one reason why it has been a while since my last post. But I am happy to have a routine and feel a little more settled each day. We are looking forward to moving into our more permanent home hopefully in the next few months!
Recently, we had a lady visiting us at my office from the States who is an educator in South Carolina. I had the privilege of accompanying her to a school in the mountains in Lebanon for Syrian refugee children. I had been to the location of the school many times but never during the week when it was in session. What an eye-opening, humbling and amazing experience it was for me! There are 147 children attending from grades K-4. The subjects are Math, English, Arabic, Geography, Science and History. Most of the children in attendance have been out of school for 2 or more years as a result of the war in Syria. They are all so happy to be in school again that the principal shared that they have very few absences. I was mostly an observer the day I went. The friend who was with me read stories in English to the children with the help of a translator and the children just listened with rapt attention. I was overwhelmed at the need for education these children have. The school is doing what they can but desire to do so much more to help the refugee children and their families. Please keep these precious children in your prayers as well as the teachers and the principal and all those involved in making this school possible. If you are interested in knowing more about the school and/or the relief work that is going on through the organization with which I work, please let me know. There is still much to be done!
God has been working on my heart to be more sensitive to His leading in opportunities to serve that might be right under my nose. I am ready to be a part of whatever He has in store and long to make a difference where I am placed. I have had the opportunity to sing at a couple of churches since moving to Lebanon and am thankful to be able to use this gift again. I have missed singing so very much and pray that there will be many more opportunities open up soon. I am humbled and thankful to think of the place I am in now and how there are so many needs right in my own backyard.
Please pray for us as we seek to be available to where the Lord is leading us to worship on Sundays and to be involved during the week. We want to be used and know that God will direct in His perfect timing.