Having been encouraged by a friend to attend, on Saturday, January 11th Rana set off for the Family to Gather event that was taking place at the ABTS Moore Conference Center that day. Hoping to find support in the midst of the political and economic crisis happening in Lebanon and keep her family strong despite all of the uncertainty and anxiety it produced, she brought her husband, nursery-aged son, and 8-year-old daughter along with her. What happened for her family there, however, was beyond what she could have hoped for.
Smiles, crowns, genuine tears, and renewed hope: this is what we witnessed this year at SKILD. As our kings and queens were crowned at February’s Night to Shine, they walked down the red carpet into their kingdom, the kingdom that Jesus called them into, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The peace and joy planted in our hearts by the smiles on the faces of children with special needs and their families was the fuel we needed to continue the year.
“‘If you are able? All things are possible for the one who believes’ … Jesus gently took his hand and raised him to his feet, and he stood up.” When the disciples asked Jesus why they could not heal the boy, Jesus answered, “This kind can only be resolved through prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:14-29).
The care we are called to give, the love we are meant to show, the support we should provide are Christ-like characteristics that we are entrusted to live out to the world as a glimpse of the heavenly comfort provided by our Father’s Kingdom.
In a world full of imperfections and hardships, we search for support, for a hand to hold, for someone who will lift us up when we fall. We all seek and long for love, mercy, faithfulness, peace, and joy, all of which are provided by our heavenly father.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning when Sheila and her husband Tim made their way to our church in Bikfaya. After the service, a group of seasoned church members enthusiastically gathered around them, each one waiting for their turn to greet the visitors with heartfelt hugs and kisses.
It’s a given that parenting a child with special needs is a challenge. Parents often feel those challenges like strong tidal waves coming at them, to tip them off the edge, to make them lose their balance, but they never do.
They walked in on the red carpet surrounded by a crowd of paparazzi. Amidst the cheers and the camera flashes, a sparkle started to show in their eyes, and a smile began to form on their faces. Surrounded by their parents, who shared the same sparkle and smile, it was then that we knew Night to Shine Lebanon would truly be a night of a lifetime for us and our guests.