Saturday, June 18, 2005
Captain Skippy in Lebanon
My brother Jason and his wife Kelly have been in Beirut, Lebanon all month on a mission trip. He dropped me another email yesterday...

Marhaba! Kelly and I as well as the rest of the team are still doing very well. Two of our team members have left us now to go back to work or to weddings and we miss them greatly, but the Lord is still moving mightily. On Saturday we will leave for Jordan for 4 days and Syria for one. We will be tourists, but giving bibles and speaking to everyone we meet. It will be great to be able to catch the bigger vision for the Middle East.

I’m excited to see Petra, the large structure carved in the canyon as seen in
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade or on the wall of art in FUMC Tulsa. We will also go to the Jordan River to see where Jesus was baptized and go to the peak where Moses peered over to see the Promised Land. We are looking forward to worshipping the Lord in these dry lands where the name of Jesus has been rarely lifted up.

In Beirut it has been remarkable the contacts we have made by worshipping downtown and in other places. People really seem to sense the presence of God there and see that we truly know and love God rather than simply fear him and pray out of duty. To clarify a statement I said earlier that I have received some comments about... something about "avoiding theological discussions and aiming to demonstrate the kingdom rather than talk them into it." They are very loyal to the theology of Islam though they know little and have studied little of it themselves, in general.

We can talk apologetics all day while our reasoning seems perfect and theirs completely absurd. Yet they are still very loyal to their thoughts. And the cost for them is too high for them simply to trust our answers rather than theirs. Things they have trouble with are the trinity, Jesus as the Son of God, they think God replaced Jesus with Judas on the cross and therefore did not die and rise again, and they thing that Jesus promised that Mohammed would come rather than the Holy Spirit.

I believe I was wrong in saying that we avoid these conversations, we don't. These are essential for them to understand. But in every question they ask we answer and steer it back to their need for Jesus. Parables and stories explaining a concept seem to be more effective than straight answers. 99.9% percent of conversions come from something supernatural such as healings, dreams or visions of Jesus, or an overwhelming sense of the presence of Jesus. These are what we count on and pray for and need prayer for.

Early in every conversation we ask if we can pray for them and their needs, which seems to open many more doors than unleashing my lifetime of Sunday school teachings on them. Praying for them is amazing. They more than likely have never been prayed for before and are awed by the fact that we care for them enough to do it and that we know God on a level to ask him for things they feel that God cares nothing of. The thought of knowing God and being able to really love him is what seems to really be effective. I hope that this answers questions and I apologize for any confusion.

Exciting: Our team has been praying to effect men of families, key holders to the entire family. So far most of our contacts have been male peers, which is good, because the long term team says that there are typically 5 girls to one guy contact made. Austin, Kelly, and Melanie found a very hungry father who has asked that Austin return (with drew and I) tonight for more and to pray with him more. I’m really excited about this.

Funny: 2 days ago, a door I knocked on was answered with a gun. I was invited inside where I saw that there were more guns and a large portrait of Saddam Hussein(?). They were very welcoming though and really responsive. I’ve never presented the gospel so quickly to anyone before.

Everyday is an adventure and I love it. Pray for everything I’ve said before and more. Thank you for your support and prayers. Know that the fruit of it is not just a good experience for Kelly and I but that your support and prayers are leaving a legacy in Lebanon. In the years to come we can look at the church, the precious bride of Christ, planted here in Lebanon and their growth into the rest of the Middle East knowing that you played a part in it. The kingdom of God is moving and I love that our God is a God who we can partner with in this.

A salaam a le koum

muchlove jason

posted by Peter at 3:39 PM
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