Posted: 6/12/16 at 2:25pm. Blogpost by Alma Vela
It’s true what they say about Lebanon – there’s always a view. Whether you’re down in the city or up in the mountains, the view outside your window, door, or on your rooftop is always breathtaking.
What really gets to me though are the mountains.
Looking through the airplane window a week and a half ago, I saw the sturdy mountains poke through the sky and prayed that I could go see them at least once. Now, I’m living on one. Not only that, but we drive through them almost all the time, marveling in God’s creation, thinking, “Man, faith can move these mountains.”
The theme of faith has been very prominent since I’ve arrived to this beautiful country. In the book of Daniel, Daniel has a lot of faith in God and God proves to be faithful. Take for example the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. Not only did God keep Daniel safe, but this faithfulness caused the king to say,
“I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.” (Daniel 6:26-27)
How awesome is that?! This king who didn’t believe in God claimed that God is the living God all because he saw Daniel’s faithfulness and the Lord’s faithfulness to him.
I also finished a book this week called God’s Smuggler that really makes you marvel at God’s faithfulness in an ordinary man’s life. This book is a testimony of a man named Brother Andrew who inclined his ear to God’s calling and literally trusted him with everything when he delivered bibles to communist countries behind the Iron Curtain in the 1950’s. (I’m really bad at reading non-fiction books, but I zoomed through this one – I definitely recommend reading this and Daniel [and well, pretty much the whole bible also] if you want to rejoice in God’s faithfulness.)
So why all this talk about faith? Because the Lord knows the important need of it as we interact with Syrian refugees.
Summer Camp with the Refugees
Last weekend was my first weekend working with the Syrian Refugees. We escalated up the mountains and stayed in a city called Zahle, “The Hidden City,” as my friend Jessica likes to call it. It’s a city in the middle of the mountains. And right over that mountain (as you can see in the picture) is Syria. Many refugees live in this area, and not all in the best conditions.
There are several large neighborhoods of tents where these refugees have taken residence, which is where the kids are picked up from for the summer camps we hold. Some may ask, “Why are those 3-day camps even important? What difference does it make?”
These camps give these kids a chance to be kids, a time to be loved, and a time to remember that they are not forgotten or alone. Plus, everyone loves to have fun and play games! This video shows only a snippet of one of the crazy games we get to play.
One day, at camp, the speaker asked this question as part of his talk: “What makes you sad?” A little girl responded, “When I hit my sister,” another said, “When I see people in need,” and one boy jumped up with his hand raised high to answer the question. He’s an 11 year old boy with a welcoming personality, and when he was picked on, he responded,
“The war in Syria.”
This is their reality.
The ages of these kids range from 5 to 13; the war has been going on for 5 years, that’s either their whole lives or a major part of it. As westerners, we tend to forget this; we forget that this is real. War ruins lives and just because it’s not affecting us directly, we are being hurt as a human race and as the body of Christ.
This is why faith is so important. Placing all our trust and faith in the Lord, knowing that He too will be and has been faithful. God has not abandoned His beloved nor will He ever. Please, please continue to pray for the refugees and for a stop to this war.
“Faithful you have been,
And faithful you will be,
You pledge yourself to me.”
Ever Be, by Bethel Music