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Friday, January 22, 2010

THE LEAST OF THESE

THE LEAST OF THESE

IN LEBANON

This is the last segment of the last three posts, which are below. I hope you have enjoyed it.

How do I reconcile the people we meet with radicals who hate us and terrorists who want to kill us? Before I came here, I thought the Hezbollah was a secret, criminal group. Here in Lebanon there is no secrecy about being Hezbollah. As days pass and we become more comfortable with each other, our escorts (even the Hajj) pose with us for photographs. The young men become friendly and playful. One proudly shows us his baby daughter, a dark-eyed, smiling beauty. And in this village, the Hezbollah is respected and loved -- the only group, as the villagers see it, which defended them during the attack on their home. “They are like America’s Minute Men,” remarks one of our team.

The genial young men keep a close watch over us, though. They NEVER leave any of us alone. In another village, the entire group, except for me, walks up a street and around a corner while I pay for my purchases. When I leave the shop, my escort drives the van slowly along beside me as I walk through the quiet village. I walk as quickly as I can, embarrassed and feeling like the First Lady of America being shadowed by the Secret Service. Still, the deserted street is a little scary and I appreciate the company.

I hear one of our translators replying to questions from one of our team, “America should help the weak nation against the strong one,” she states. “Israel is so strong and Lebanon so weak.” Asked about the flyers dropped by Israel warning the residents to leave the area before the attack started, she replies, “If you were told to leave your home and land and let someone else take it over, would you?”

We observe and ask questions, but we do not involve ourselves in politics. We can see the problems of the Lebanese people more from their point of view now, and commiserate with them in their suffering. Our mission is to demonstrate the gospel of Christ by helping others. We are here as Baptists, to succor the cold, hungry, and lonely for the love of Jesus, who said, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you do this for the least of these, you do it for me.”


END

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