Although we still had a day left of our "Lebanese-Only" restricted diet, the kids snuck out to go have some Deek Duke's (a chicken restaurant which was definitely more Western than Eastern) for dinner. We didn't tell Mom and Dad until debriefing about our little disobedience.
This past summer while I was serving in Lebanon, these people lived, served, ate, cried, prayed, laughed, and loved with me.
Before I left, people would ask me what I was most afraid of or nervous about venturing over to the Middle East. They expected answers like "the food" or "safety." My answer: My team not liking me. I shocked a good number of people with this answer.
"But Rebekah, everyone likes you."
"Rebekah Suzanne, how could anyone not like you?"
...were the two most common responses to my reply.
Nevertheless, it was my biggest concern. I was so lucky with CBSP08 to find a family who loves me and accepts me that I knew I wouldn't get so lucky again. Wrong.
My beautiful sisters at Black Mountain for reunion.
When people ask me how Lebanon compares to Clearwater, I cannot begin to compare the two. That is to say, God has given me exactly what I've needed each time around.
Clearwater has been a family that loves me unconditionally when I needed to learn the lesson of unconditional love. The Dream Team is my prayer circle who entered my life at a time when I needed support and community so bad my soul ached. Although I love them as much as I love CBSP08, I talk to them about different things than I do with Clearwater. Dream TEam knows my struggles with my girls, my walk, my family, my life, blah blah blah. I met each family at a different point in my life and therefore have a different connection with each.
The Dream Team has my back when they go to The Throne. I text them constantly with prayer requests, no matter how big or small. They pray for my girls whenever I ask, and it wouldn't surprise me if they did it even when I haven't asked. They know my fears, anxiety, joy, and struggle with graduating and moving on from State. They know my intense love for my Wolfpack.
Erin, Kim, and I at the Jeita Grottos this past summer.
Clearwater is going to get jobs and get married. A few might head overseas (one is all ready there--Hi Travis!) and others might do something else. But some version of The American Dream is ahead for them all. Lebanon is giong to scatter like seeds in the wind. All over the US, the Middle East, South America, beyond--who knows? Although I will cherish the time that I will get to sit and worship with my Wolfpack family and my Clearwater family in Eternity, nothing will compare to the stories that I get to hear from my Lebanon family.
Our last family picture together in the Frankfurt, Germany airport before we began to part ways.