From the age of 16, I’ve had such a strong sense of God calling me to work with people overseas. I actively engaged in short and long term mission trips in every bit of school holiday I had, and then every opportunity of annual leave I was given when in the workplace. It didn’t matter where I went: Africa, India, Europe, working with rich or poor, young or old, school educated or life educated, I just had a burning desire to ‘get out there’ that was rapidly growing.
For so many of us, the struggles of life can come along and side swipe us with the littlest of warning. Some sad things happened in my life and overnight life looked really different. For the next couple years I held on to God and His promises with all I had, placing one foot in front of the other and looking ahead knowing that Jesus had me by the hand.
A couple years ago, God started to speak again about this burning desire he had stitched into my fabric. I was part of the 24-7 GB team, with a focus on the mission teams we send out to various 24-7 communities around the world. Through relationship, Lebanon was put on the table. After a couple of trips God started to make it incredibly clear that he was leading me here and November last year, I made the jump. I just knew he was speaking, stirring my heart and calling me deeper…deeper into a decision to not only follow Him but to sell out completely for His glory. You could look at it as a rough trade; Beirut stinks at times, there’s rubbish everywhere around you, it’s pretty impossible to find any peace and quiet, the language is really tough and I never knew I could sweat like I do now. However, none of those things come close to the level of joy I’m experiencing, knowing I’m exactly where God has called me to be.
So, I’ve found myself deep in the heart of the Syrian Refugee crisis. A third of the population of Lebanon is now made up from Syrian Refugees. Men, women and children who have had to flee their homes and literally climb over mountains to find safety here. They arrive with only the clothes on their back, sometimes not knowing what’s happened to family members who have been scattered or left behind.
They get a piece of UN tarpaulin, some wood, and have to rebuild their homes and lives from scratch. I’m part of an incredible team out here and we love nothing more than to sit with these beautiful people, hear their stories, pray for them, worship and read the bible with them. We’re also really passionate about meeting their emotional needs where we can – every single person is traumatised in some way from their harrowing experiences, and through prayer and trauma support we are excited to see God bringing some healing and freedom to their poorly hearts.
Alongside this, I also have a particular focus of working with Muslim background students in Beirut – young people who have come to love Jesus, and who are wanting to share with their peers. I have the absolute privilege of working with some incredible guys and girls, to run prayer rooms right in the centre of the student district here in Beirut. The vision is to inspire and catalyse a movement of prayer here amongst the student community. I believe God’s heart is to bring healing and destiny to so many students here, who are growing up in such a challenging place, where family and social issues are incredibly fragile.
For many years now, God has spoken to me about changing people’s perception of hope. A lot of dirt has been thrown at me over the years. By the grace of God he’s brought me to a place where I can share my experiences and speak of his healing grace and redemption with many people who are going through similar pain. I am now in a completely different context, but God is the same and He wants to bring healing and freedom in a powerful way. My heart burns to share of how there is a raw and living hope; that when all worldly things fall away from under us, we don’t have to sink into the abyss – a hope in Jesus and all that He is, is the lifeline and the only way to make sure that mud doesn’t stick.
This is what we are invited to put our hope in, and this is what saves us.
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