It was a long journey, and it’s great to be at our destination. It’s still sinking in that I’m really here. It still kinda feels like a dream, or like I’m just watching a tv show in 3D; but that may be because I slept for a grand total of 20 minutes in the past 30 hours.
Anyway, a few initial observations from this scenery are in order. It was a shock to the system to walk out of the airport into 22 Celsius conditions; but a shock I welcome.
The drive from the airport to the seminary was very revealing. We drove up the mountain to Mansourieh, the Beirut suburb when the seminary is. We weaved and dodged through chaotic roads (there are no lanes here, and everything is free for all. Every car has noticable dings and scratches and everyone seems to have squealing brakes) and wound our way through contrasting neighbourhoods. Mosques next door to KFC. Fancy cafes next to squalid apartment buildings. And everywhere graffiti and posters advertise someone (not just someTHING). There is also a stark contrast in the people. Young modern folks, with western styles sharing streets with women in burkas. There are the obviously wealthy, looking like they belong in Beverly Hills, and there are the destitute, and mixing together. There are churches across the street from historic mosques, and bustling streets of people just trying to get where they’re going.
But it is wonderful to be here, to experience something new and exciting. To spend time with colleagues discussing mission and ministry ideas, to encourage and be encouraged.
Tomorrow we hit the ground running, with time scheduled to meet with staff of the Lebanese Baptist Society, and the President of ABTS, complete with a lunch with the students, and an evening tour of downtown Beirut.
More to come, so stay tuned.