Safely home Thursday June 23
By: Alistair Brown
I took 7 students to Beirut and the same 7 got off the plane with me at O’Hare airport on Thursday evening. We went, we returned and we are the better for the experience.
There were no ‘back in the USA’ photos taken on our return. After some 21 hours of travelling none of us were in the mood nor, probably, looking at our best. But we were in good spirits.
We had left at 6.30 a.m. from ABTS, stopped at a bakery to buy something for breakfast and found that what had been recommended to us was at least twice the size any of us needed. Nevertheless, more than fortified we got through all the leaving procedures at Beirut airport and flew to Frankfurt, Germany.
In Frankfurt we transferred easily to Lufthansa but had a four hour wait for our trans-Atlantic flight. Eventually we boarded a very crowded Boeing 747 and took our seats near the back. Nearly nine hours later we were in the USA and thankfully so was all our luggage. It was now 7.30 p.m., but allowing for the time zone difference it felt like 3.30 a.m. No surprise we were tired. One of our heroic trustees, Jim Stellwagen, was there with his large van to take everyone back to the seminary campus where some live and others were being met.
I saw two of the group on Friday evening at a barbecue at the seminary. Like me they had slept but not well. Going to bed at 10.00 p.m. meant trying to rest when it was getting up time in Beirut. But they were cheerful. Already we all felt that learning in conference in a Beirut seminary, walking the shores of the Mediterranean, exploring marvelous caverns at Jeita, walking through the ruins at Baalbeck, and sharing fellowship with amazing Christians in Lebanon and from around the Middle East was a long time ago. In fact it had been only two days.
We have a final class together on July 9th when we will reflect on our experiences. Organizing our thoughts by articulating them is a good way to consolidate the lessons learned.
When I have had a few days to let my personal thoughts fall into some order I will try to write about them here.
Meanwhile, thank you for your prayers and support. These things have been very important to us, and my hope is that some of the blog entries have stirred your interest so that Lebanon and the lives and work of Middle East Christians stay high in your prayers.