Update #3 From The 2015 MENA Conference

After the first day of the Middle East/North Africa conference one of our board members, Lisa Geeting, sent us this amazing story of one of the families at the conference:

He is an Anglican priest. She is a teacher. They lived in Tunisia until seven months ago when some unforeseen circumstances moved them to Lebanon where they found themselves in limbo, waiting for what's next.

As this situation unfolded they found themselves frustrated at God for moving them away from the churches they had started. The believers there are young in their faith and really need more guidance and mentoring. Didn't God know that they weren't ready to be on their own yet? Why would he take them away from this ministry?

In Lebanon they live in a small town. Every day as they look out the window they notice many children in the streets, not going to school, with no parents taking care of them. They found out these are Syrian children–the unwanted people of Lebanon. These range in age from 4 to 15 years old, and some have lost a parent in the fighting.

This couple told me about the needs these children have and how they might be able to meet some of those needs. The husband encourages his wife to follow God's leading by going regularly to the streets and ministering to these children. So off she goes every day, meeting children in the streets, asking them if they would like to hear some stories, gathering them under a tree in a nearby field. She teaches them Bible stories and the children are eating it up.

One day she asked the children if they would like to learn to read stories for themselves and they told her they do not even know how to write their own names...how could they ever learn to read stories? So the next thing she knew she was meeting with children in the field every day teaching them how to read and write. She also found out the children don't have many basic life skills such as knowing how to brush their teeth and wash themselves properly. So she teaches them these things as well.

The children's families are thrilled that she is investing in their children; the villagers are making fun of her. "Why do you waste your time on these children?" they ask. "After all, they are just Syrians." Her response was that somebody will invest in these children...ISIS, Hezbollah...or she could, and if they were to help her, maybe they could help stop the violence that plagues this region of the world. Some of the villagers now help her by providing clothing and school supplies for these children–after all, she now has 52 that she is investing her life in.

Her husband and children are also involved in the lives of these kids nobody wanted to be bothered with. She has seen God moving in the hearts of the people of the village; they don't mock her anymore. They see the difference in these children in just a few short months. And although they do not know how permanent their life in Lebanon will be, they now see how God has used them here to make a difference in lives. Their church plants in Tunisia are doing well also in their absence–maybe God does know best.

And God is just getting started in that small town in Lebanon. There are also 45 Iraqi children who are in need of schooling and this family is trying to figure out how they can minister to them. They are praying for God to show them clearly what they are to do.

This couple could have just waited out their time away from home, but they saw a need, allowed God to move their feet to action, and lives are being changed because of their willingness to obey.

They are tired. They give so much to so many. But this week it's our turn to give to them. To provide fresh ideas from the life of Mary. To offer a safe, quiet place to rest and hear from God. Because you have invested in Walk Thru the Bible, you are really investing in this couple, and ultimately investing in the forgotten children they love and serve. It's an honor to serve God alongside you.

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