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Smooth flights meant an on-time arrival on Wednesday. Many have expressed concern for our safety. We traveled much around Lebanon the last few days and not once have I felt threatened. Pastor Raymond, our host, put together a team to take great care of us. Going to the cedars of Lebanon was a real treat. Solomon most likely got the cedars for the temple from this forest as it seems to have the easiest access to the sea. It still would have been a lot of work.
Pastor David Harper from Bible Baptist Church, Wakarusa, IN. has joined me on this trip. He has been a blessing. Each evening there were church services, so he and I both had the privilege to speak to these kind people. Lebanon is a country of free religion yet if one truly converts they could be banished from their family. The greatest persecution this church has faced came from Catholics, not Muslims. Both look down on any family members who come to Christ. We had a great group for Staff Training. Almost 30 attended. What a sweet group of servants and students! Only a few will stay for this first week of teen camp. Some will return the following week for their youth camp, which will be singles who are 18-30. Last year, the group was combined, but they heeded Matt Collier’s advice to split that large age span.
We just received disappointing news that the count sounds like it will be less than 20 teens – yet many of them will be unsaved. Pastor Raymond said that he thought that more would come from other churches but those churches have not caught the burden of how camp can benefit their youth. He said next year he will open it up to refugees from Syria as they have just started a new ministry with them.
The small crowd of campers has a big personality. Games have been a huge success as they are a graciously competitive people. Great intensity is seen through the game time but then everyone is fine with the outcome. Competition has not been so bad because one team has won everything except two games. Final scoring could be fun!
Pastor David Harper has had a lot of fun with the group. He brought his pocket trumpet which is a neat novelty. We have had many raised hands from young people desiring to turn over aspects of their lives to Christ. We are hoping during free times today more counselor/ camper interaction will take place to confirm and solidify those decisions. The hike today could give great opportunity for those discussions.
We are now done with services. One made a profession of faith, a few made assurance and many decisions to be a “warrior for God!” That last phrase came from one of the messages but is truly a possibility in this culture. We are constantly meeting people who are rejected by their family because of their relationship with Christ.
Report by Dan Brooks