Power of a Touch
In August of last year, I was able to take a mission trip to Beirut with CLUB1040, a missionary organization working in the Middle East. To say that the trip was life-changing is an understatement. It ignited a fire inside of me for the Middle East!
When I left the U.S., I wasn't sure what to expect. And by the time I landed in Frankfurt, Germany, I was exhausted! I never thought international travel could be so tiring! When we boarded the plane for Beirut five hour later, I fell asleep before we even left the runway.
Landing in Beirut and going through customs was long, but easy. Then we got into the vehicles! Wow! The traffic! There weren't any stop lights and street signs. People just drove. It was crazy. It took us awhile to get into the mountains of Beirut. And that night, we toured the downtown area. I certainly did not expect to see an area in Beirut with so much money. The yachts and buildings were beautiful! I had expected to see war-torn streets and poverty everywhere!
The next day, we headed to a refugee camp near the Syrian border. And that folks, was where my heart melted! I had no idea what to expect. As we pulled into the House of Love ministry and school, we saw the most beautiful children, lined up and ready to go home. The kids turned to watch us as they left. Then, we were given direction. We were going to do manicures for the ladies in the refugee camp.
After we had prepared for their arrival and had lunch, I watched ladies arriving with their children. I looked at them, through the eyes of a mother. Many of them were very young...and they were mothers. As we sat down, there was only one interpreter in the room. Much of our communication was by touch. As I held the hands of these young women, I noticed how work-worn they were. I showed them pictures of my boys and they pointed to their children. After the manicure, we would ask the ladies if we could pray for them. They all said yes! When we asked what they wanted prayer for, their reply astounded me.
"I want to know if my family is still alive."
"I want to see my parents again."
"I want to go home."
There it was. We were culturally different, yet femininely alike. Our concerns were the same: family and home.
As we finished up, we could hear laughter. A lot of laughter. I went outside to see the ladies laughing. The refugee workers were astounded. They had never heard them laugh like that! And, then the unforeseeable happened. We were invited into their homes. We walked the camp and saw their homes. The children hugged and played with us. The mothers welcomed us as friends. Not one sermon was preached, but we showed them the love of Christ that day.
The next few days, we held a Beautiful1040 Women's Conference in Beirut. We invited Pastor's Wives and Women Team Leaders to come. We decided that we wanted to have lots of fun...and that's what we did! We laughed and played games. They taught how to dance. We had amazing worship times. And, I gained forever friends! In fact, my joy is logging onto Facebook or Instagram and seeing their posts and pictures. I treasure the opportunity to meet my sisters, who live halfway around the world! And, a decision was made. I would go back to the Middle East every year.
I came back to the states and a few months later, I began working for that organization! And in June, I return to the Middle East. This time to Egypt, where we are having a Beautiful1040 Egypt conference. We again will be hosting Pastor's Wives and Women Team Leaders. Friendships will be formed. Laughter will be overflowing. I'll get to see the pyramids and maybe even ride a camel.
However, there will also be a community outreach. A place where we will be a help to a people who needs it. A place where the love of Christ will be shown to a hurting world. A place where a touch will outweigh a sermon and a life will be forever changed.