Last month I had the opportunity to travel to the beautiful countries of Jordan and Lebanon to visit some of the Lighthouses Pulpit Rock has partnered with. These Lighthouses are micro church plants and centers for learning and community-fostering, all strategically placed to serve refugees.
Since my return I’ve been trying to unpack all that I saw and experienced. Sifting through hundreds of pictures, recalling all the sights we saw, all the emotions I felt, and all the ways I saw God at work in these beautiful countries and also at work in my own heart. This was an incredible trip that simultaneously held some of the most epic sights, and some of the most heart-wrenching stories.
There are so many pictures I could share and stories I could tell you that describe how God is at work in Jordan and Lebanon via Tyre Church and 1000 Lighthouses.
Here is one of my favorites:
At one of the Lighthouses we visited in Amman, Jordan we toured a school that operates out of it. This Lighthouse serves many Iraqi refugees, so many of the children attending are Iraqi refugees as well.
The school’s principal, someone who we’ll call “Dee,” gave us a tour of the school and introduced us to many of their children and teachers. Dee’s passion for her students was palpable. It was evident in every story she shared how much she and the other teachers deeply cared for each child and family this Lighthouse is serving.
One story Dee shared was an explanation of the artwork that hangs in the entry way of their school.
These framed, crayon pictures lined either side of the vestibule and are an exercise they do with each refugee child. When these students first arrive at this school they are asked to draw what their life in Iraq looked like. They then describe to their teachers all that they sketched out—while their teachers then label each part of their drawing. These drawings are hard to take in. Things drawn and labeled that no human – let alone a small child – should ever have to witness. Homes burnt down, car bombs, no food, explosions, blood and death in the streets surrounding them. Descriptions of feeling unsafe and afraid.
But then Dee points to the other side of each of these framed drawings. Months later, their teachers take these same pieces of art and has the same kids draw about their current life in Jordan.
These same kids who literally weeks prior described such destruction and devastation are now drawing about happiness and hope. Scribbled pictures of a new home, church, and school—where they are safe to live, play, and learn. Flowers and rainbows and hearts, all with words attached like “peace,” “love,” “care” and “safe.”
Standing there teary-eyed and with goosebumps I was literally surrounded by transformation and hope, all expressed in crayon, and all pointing to a God who is at work.
The teachers at this Lighthouse are daily providing tangible hope to these kids, and introducing them to a relationship with the God of all of it.
And there are stories just like this at the Lighthouses all over Jordan and Lebanon. Dee and the many people I met who serve at these Lighthouses are the Gospel in the most physical form I’ve ever seen.
I am honored to have met these people and am inspired to love my neighbors like they love theirs.
And I’m also honored to be a part of this church … a community of believers that so genuinely and generously invests in neighbors all over the world.
God is at work, my friends, and how exciting we all get to be a part of it!
“If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care —then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”
Philippians 2:1-4 MSG