I’m Home!

1 08 2009

For those of you who don’t know yet, I should probably officially tell you that I am home safe and sound, back in Pasadena, and trying to get back in the swing of things.  It’s gonna take me a little while, considering everyone I know is packing up and moving out, or is already gone, so I have no clear idea of what “the swing of things” really is anymore.  Nonetheless, I more than survived the journey and surprisingly miss the Middle East more than I thought I would.  Thanks for following my updates.  Hopefully, I will post some more thoughts after the fact, as I process my experience more in the weeks to come.  For now, here are a couple of my fave pics from my travels last week:

the beautiful ruins at Baalbek

the beautiful ruins at Baalbek

me and the Karagheusian girls after our last day together

me and the Karagheusian girls after our last day together

Mt. Nebo - where Moses saw the Promised Land

Mt. Nebo - where Moses saw the Promised Land

traditional Arabic music inside the candlelit canyons of Petra at night

traditional Arabic music inside the candlelit canyons of Petra at night

crazy beautiful Petra

crazy beautiful Petra

Wadi Rum desert

Wadi Rum desert

climbing red sand rock canyons barefoot - and in a skirt!

climbing red sand rock canyons barefoot - and in a skirt!

irony

irony

floating in the Dead Sea at sunset

floating in the Dead Sea at sunset

Damascus Souq

Damascus Souq

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Scavenger Hunt, Bourj Hammoud Style.

13 07 2009

I’m in my final week here in Beirut.  In about six days I’ll be heading out to travel for a week before returning home.  Still not sure where exactly I’ll go.  Everyone on the team’s got different amounts of time and different desires.  But, It’ll probably involve Syria, possibly Jordan, Cyprus, or Turkey.  We’ll see.

I’m spending time Scavenger Huntthis week with some high school girls in Bourj Hammoud, an Armenian area of Beirut.  Last week I took them on a scavenger hunt, which they had never done before.  They had a blast racing through the tiny allies of the neighborhood looking for pennies and girls’ underwear.  Ha!  But a scavenger hunt in Bourj Hammoud is different than any I have ever done in the States.  They’re not quite so quick – more conversing with people along the way.  I threw time out the window and just enjoyed the experience.  The next day, I took them on a different kind of scavenger hunt.  I asked them to find: 1) a place of pain, 2) a place of joy and 3) a place where God is.  One girl’s “place of pain” was the Old People’s Home, which she had never been to, so we went in and got a tour.  It was eye opening and difficult even for me, to see the conditions of how the elderly are cared for in this country.  Today we had a Bible study – the first the girls had ever really done – and looked at God’s scavenger hunt…what does God see when he looks at the city?  It was a challenge to do in English (not their first language), with only one Bible, but we made it work.  🙂  Then I took them to an art exhibit of pieces made during the civil war period.  None of them were alive during that time, nor had any of them ever seen an art exhibit before, so it was eye opening for all of us.  I had fun giving them my (very) amateur advice about how to view art.  Tomorrow, we’re off to the national museum to see really old things.  🙂  Wednesday we’ll see the ruins downtown and Thursday will be shopping and a movie, since it will be our last day together.  In all of this I am informally teaching them English and they are teaching me Armenian, though I think they are better learners than I am.

Last weekend I went to Baalbek, some of the most extensive and best preserved ancient ruins in the world.  They were pretty amazing.

Please pray for:

– The remainder of my time here, that I would press in and that God would use my time with the girls as an opportunity for him to move in their lives.

– For team dynamics (unity, grace and intentionality).

– My homesickness.  Though things are going well here, I really miss home.  I am anxious about my upcoming move when I return home.  Can you pray that God will speak to me about this?

Thank you for your continued prayers!  I can’t wait to see you and speak to you all in person!