Dear friends and family,
Salam! We have arrived safely in Lebanon! After nearly 30 hours of travel, our group of 9 young Americans landed in Beirut to a warm welcome from Fr. Joseph, a priest from the Community of the Beatitudes house in Byblos. Although our arrival was very late at night, we were all so excited to drive through the city and see a small glimpse of this beautiful country on the way to the hotel where we will be quarantining for two days before moving into the Community house on Wednesday.
Our first full day here began with a slow morning to help us get over our jetlag. After eating breakfast, we gathered together for a time of prayer and praise on our balcony that overlooks some of the city, including a church of the Syriac Catholic Archdiocese. We sang, had moments of praise and intercession, and ended our prayer with a song to Mary.
Next, we put on our masks and went out into Beirut. Initially, we planned to walk through a beautiful park near our hotel; however, it was closed due to COVID, so we decided to explore the city instead. Along our walk, one of the most striking things that we found was a series of small shrines throughout the streets. Around nearly every corner, we ran into shrines to Mary, Jesus, St. Charbel, and others! We took some time to pray at each shrine before moving on to the next. It was so beautiful to see a city so devoted and dedicated to the Lord, and it was a clear encouragement from the Lord that He is especially present to us here.
As we begin this time of adventure and stepping into the unknown, we ask in a particular way for your prayers. Above all, we are here to grow in our relationship of love with the Lord. We pray that we might come before Him with open hands, without particular expectations, ready to receive everything that He has in store for us. We pray for unity and communion among our group that we might love each other as Christ loves us. Lastly, we pray that in everything we do, we might give Him glory and praise!
Know that as you are praying for us, we are also praying for you! Your love and support is so appreciated, and we give thanks to God for each and every one of you. Stepping away from our families, friends, and culture is a very difficult thing to do, but we are confident that this time will be so fruitful in our relationships both here and back home. If there are any prayer requests that you would like us to carry with us during this time, please let us know.
Our Lady of Lebanon, pray for us!
Lebanon Immersion Team