Jennifer Merck is bound for Lebanon. She joins a team from Exodus World Service to experience first hand the plight of Syrian refugees in the early stages of their journey. Jennifer will continue to post from Lebanon. Keep checking our blog to stay current with her.
“We envision a world where refugees are at home, wherever they are on their journey.”
Exodus’ vision is grand. It is a huge, audacious goal that Exodus cannot do on its own and cannot do today. Those sorts of goals are the best ones, the ones that make you reach far and work hard — the ones that require God to intervene, for them to happen.
.On Sunday afternoon, June 2, I will leave with a team of six representing Exodus World Service to the Christian community in Lebanon. We will work alongside a partner organization that mobilizes Lebanese Christians to welcome Syrian refugees, many of whom have been smuggled over the mountains from their homeland, which remains in the midst of civil war.
Exodus calls trips like these Global Neighbor trips.
We will help run a Kids’ Camp — similar to our VBS — with games and crafts and skits and a Gospel message. We will visit with refugee families in their tent settlements. We will learn about the history of Syria and Lebanon, and why the peace-making work of Lebanese Christians is unexpected and profound. We will learn how the plight of Syrian refugees is different than other refugees, and how it is the same.
We will surely hear stories of hard journeys. I’ve heard some of these stories before, from friends in Wheaton. These stories will be more present, more in-process, more unsettled and unresolved. They will also involve more recent violence, trauma, heartache, and loss.
I go with Exodus, but I go representing All Souls to our brothers and sisters in Christ in Lebanon. I am grateful for the opportunity All Souls is providing for me to offer the ministry of presence to both the refugees and the Lebanese Christians and their churches, working tirelessly at this work each day.
There will be very little that we can solve on this particular trip. We go to listen. We go to sit with and to be with and to simply honor the stories and the journeys of these travelers seeking refugee from war. We also go to investigate whether there are other ways that we can welcome refugees from Syria. What else might we offer on another trip? How else might they feel more at home? Could All Souls be part of helping refugees feel more at home on this part of their journey?
Please pray for safety for our team.
Please pray for eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to feel the stories and the journeys and the emotion.
Please talk to your children about Syria and about Lebanon. Show them where they are on a map or a globe.
I look forward to telling you more as I journey.