Ben Wilson 720-378-2327
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August 2006

An Update from Lebanon/Jordan

My friend Gabriele serves in Beirut.  I am glad she is alive and out of there for now.  No doubt she'll be going back there at some point.  Here is a note she sent Saturday, to an email group of our classmates from ten years ago. 

Hi guys,

I thought you might like an update, so here it is:

On Tuesday night, I arrived safely in Jordan's capital Amman.

The mountain road we traveled to get to the Lebanese/Syrian border was
packed with cars -- people trying to leave before more roads were
impassable. The road was bombed after we had arrived at the border.
Thank God for the undeserved kindness of his protection.

Now, only those are left in Lebanon who best serve the people through
staying: one of our families and an Arab man. They are active in helping
the church give out food to the many refugees from South Lebanon. The
rest of our staff has either returned to their home countries for the
time being or is working from Jordan.

At present, the U-Turn summer outreaches are taking place in the Near
East. When the bombing started, over 50 participants and staff from all
over the world was gathered for the training conference in preparation
for outreach. We are deeply grateful that we were able to finish the
conference as planned and send off the first group of participants and
leaders on Saturday. The second group left on Sunday. On Tuesday, those
of us who still needed to leave climbed into 2 vans and made their way
to the Lebanese/Syrian border. Praise God for the grace of seeing
everyone arrive safely at their destination. The outreach teams have
been sharing Jesus with men and women in the region and God is giving
them a great time!

As part of the crisis management team, it was my job to solve problems
-- which in this case mostly involved sorting out transport for our
people. Others monitored the news, wrote regular updates to home
offices, etc. The biggest challenge was to make decisions with the
information available to us, not knowing how things would develop. Thank
God for the wisdom he gave.

I am scheduled to fly to Germany around August 16 (I need to change the
departure airport from Beirut to Amman). Until then, I will help prepare
the U-Turn participants for their return home, line up debriefings for
all our workers that were affected by the crisis in Lebanon. Obviously,
I am also behind with my emails as the 700 emails in my inbox
illustrate. Also, my personnel administration assistant Karin is
currently traveling with a team in Syr. I will need to come up a
solution for where she will be based in the coming 11 months. The same
is true for the other new stuff that were planning to join us in Lebanon
in September. The fighting may have stopped by then or it may have
gotten worse. No one knows at this point. There too we need wisdom in
the decision-making.

Thank you for praying for us during the past days. I am sure that your
prayers made a difference and we saw the Father's kindness in many
different ways.

It is heartbreaking to watch the destruction of a country on TV. Please
pray for the people of Lebanon, especially the church. Different
churches are organizing practical help for the refugees. May they truly
be light in this darkness!

Blessings from Jordan,
Gabriele