During my recent trip to Lebanon, I was blessed to have the opportunity to visit a school that is being operated by one of SAT-7’s partners, Heart for Lebanon. As we entered the school, the smiles and laughter on the students’ faces were contagious. We were welcomed with open arms, beautiful smiles and hearts full of love. I learned a few minutes later that several of these children are orphans or have lost at least one parent, displaced from everything and everyone they thought was normal in their homeland, Syria. They gathered around me as though I was royalty, and wanted to hug me. Several of the girls insisted that I sit with them. I was honored to sit with these beautiful girls. We shared smiles and hugs with each other.
Their English teacher informed me that one of the girls—I’ll call her “S”—wanted to give me a gift. Unlike some of the girls, my new special friend was well dressed and clean. Like the others, she was very polite. “S” didn’t speak but a few words in English and she insisted the English teacher continue to translate for us.
I explained I didn’t feel comfortable receiving a gift from her. “S” continued with great persistence that she wanted me to have a gift and she asked the teacher to tell me why. “When I sit with her and we hug, she makes me feel like I felt with my mother.” “I feel so much love inside of her.” “I feel she loves me.” As the teacher began translating, I couldn’t hold back the tears. I asked the teacher to tell her that I love her and God loves her even more. She reached over to me and placed a beautiful gold and red ruby cocktail-style ring on my forefinger and looked up to me with tears and said “I love you too.” As tears were flowing down my face I looked into her beautiful eyes and again I said, “I love you. Thank you so much!”
One of her friends gently reached over and wiped away the tears that were streaming down my face. “S” refused to take her eyes away from mine and held me tight. “S” continued to tell me “I love you and I want you to have this ring, so you will never forget me.” Once again, as I received the translation, my heart was so full that I felt like it was going to explode. I assured her I would never forget her and that I will pray for her always. She did not want me to leave. We hugged and hugged…
I returned home with a heavy heart and a feeling of massive responsibility. The experience underscored the urgency of SAT-7’s Women for Middle East HOPE project. We must reach the “Ss” of the MENA before they become teens and adults!
Our annual SAT-7 Network theme was “Equipping the Next Generation.” These displaced kids are part of that generation and I passionately want to do more for them. We must provide educational programming for the children, personal and social programming for moms, and Christ-centered programming for families. Help us to continue sharing the love of Christ and to continue growing the hope in their spirit. Partner with us to be that hope!
Ask me how!
Project Manager/Women for Middle East HOPE
P.S. I will share more in my next letter on May 2nd. You don’t want to miss it!