The countdown is on. Today is Friday, so three more sleeps before I head to the airport and head off on a new adventure; Lebanon. We leave Toronto at 6:55pm, and have a quick stopover in Paris, France (sadly, no time to explore Paris) then on to Beirut.
This is a very exciting prospect for me. I’ve had the wonderful blessing of doing some travelling over the years. I don’t have an official “bucket list” but I do have this wonderful thought that I’d like to visit every continent (well, I wouldn’t be too upset if I never get to Antarctica). With this trip to Asia, I’ve got 4 continents covered! This trip will mean I get to check out ancient Sidon/Saida (the hometown of the infamous Jezebel), Byblos and Baalbek as well as the Jeita Grotto, Deir El Qamar and Beit El Dine.
But the more exciting part of this is the opportunity for learning and growth. This trip is designed to be a time to learn about doing mission in relevant, creative, and integrative ways. I am joining a group of colleagues from across Ontario to see mission in a tough context. We will experience how pastors are trained to tackle the difficulties of Christian leadership in the Arab speaking world (Arab Baptist Theological Society, Institute of Middle East Studies and Lebanese Baptist Society). We will see how Christians in Lebanon are responding to poverty, injustice and social development issues; health & nutrition, education, housing, etc. (Lebanese Society for Education and Social Development, Beirut Baptist School). We will see how Christians are in dialogue with Muslims (SEKAP) We will see how Christians are responding to the violence in Syria (Borj Baranjneh). We will how the church is responding to cultural shifts in the Middle East and responding to the youth culture (Baptist Children and Youth Ministry, Faith Baptist Church). We will reflect together on how we can then translate the successes of ministry and mission there into our own contexts. How can the innovative ministries being undertaken in the Middle Eastern context inform the Canadian Church.
My hope is to share some of the experiences here on this blog while in Lebanon. I can’t guarantee anything, but I will have my laptop, and wireless access, so here’s hoping. Keep checking back, and I will do what I can.