Lebanon gave me a warm welcome upon my return after 30 hours of travel. Not! It was cold and rainy, although not as cold as the subfreezing temps I left in VA upon my departure. However, it was cold shower water and a freezing cold hostel room with no heat that gave me a hearty greeting upon my arrival. Not exactly what you want to wash away the grime of those long travel hours. I also did not have a towel or a hairdryer as these were items I had and stored at the church/hostel upon my November departure. They were in a room with another guest so not something I could access at 11pm at night. My cold start to my stay has given me a perpetual chill that I cannot shake.
My first day started attending a ladies meeting to discuss potential fundraising events for the ministry. The Pastor shared the heartbreaking and stomach churning story of an 8 year old student at the school who came in with a bleeding ear. When they asked her why her ear was bleeding, she proceeded to tell them the very graphic story of a man who was sexually abusing her every day and how he had hit her because she didn’t want him to sleep with her. Her mother was selling her and her 3 sisters for $3 dollars each per day to this horrible man. All 3 girls were under the age of 12. Fortunately, I understand that she has been removed from her mother’s custody and is in a safe place now. However, there are lasting scars and mental effects that will take a miracle and a lifetime of healing to recover from.
It is stories like these that remind me why I am here and why I want to lend my support to the people of the Middle East. I know this young girl’s story is one of thousands like that. So many youth are at risk due to the dire conditions the refugees are living in and there are plenty of bad people to capitalize on their plight. As we receive funds to grow our support of refugees by providing housing and food, or by providing school assistance to young children or sponsoring young adults in technical school, we are providing valuable opportunities for children to do something in life other than have to sell themselves to be able to buy a piece of bread and we are teaching them their value and worth to help prevent other from taking advantage of them.
You can be a part of supporting my work over here (I am a volunteer so it is your support that makes me being over here possible) or you can support the work at the Life Center by giving through our nonprofit/501C3 partner in the USA – Mutual Faith Mutual Faith Ministries. For ministry designation, you must select ME Life Center Beirut or Spring of Life Center Beirut (the school) and also note any special instructions in comments such as “administrative support,” Sponsor a child,” or “support for Esther.” You can also read more on our website www.lifecenterbeirut.org Be aware that this website is a work in progress and hope you will check back after I have been here a few weeks or month to see a revamped site.
I look forward to the day when we have a self sustaining business ministry model where profits from a business generate funds for all the outreach programs. Until then, we do rely on the generosity and faithfulness of others to help keep the ministry afloat. Thank you for following me on this journey and giving as you feel inspired and led.