Protection, Perseverance, and Peace – September 22 – 24, 2018

Saturday, September 22, was a truly refreshing and a rejuvenating day. The local ministry in Tripoli had planned to take Gary and I for a walk through the forest of the Cedars of Lebanon, in the Kadisha Valley (Wadi Kadisha in Arabic: وادي قاديشا ), also known as The Holy Valley; situated 2,500 meters above sea level. The Cedars of Lebanon have always been dear to me not just because they are also referred to as the Cedars of God, or that they are mentioned so many times in the Bible (Google tells me 75 times) – They are dear … Read more

“Every Breath A Resurrection: Can These Bones Live?”  – September 19-21, 2018

September 19 was a slow day. The heat and humidity continued to press upon us. I never remember experiencing such heat and humidity, in Lebanon, in the middle of September. Maybe global warming is not such fake news after all, as a few politicians disregard this reality for their own financial gain. I am so glad that by some wisdom beyond my capabilities we had decided to make this day an unpack and pack day. Unpack what has come with us from Canada and pack what needs to go with us to the schools and the church community in Tripoli. … Read more

Humans Say, “Impossible” – God Says, “I’m Possible” – September 18, 2018

Today, September 18, 2018, Gary and I had the privilege to go visit N.E.S.T. (Near East School of Theology). This was a place that I always wanted to visit as a child. I had heard of this theological school and wondered what is it? What kind of school was it? What do they teach there? I was told it was “Asdvadzapanagan”, that’s “Theology” in Armenian. A place where individuals learn about God, a place where they prepare ministers. However, all the students, the graduates I had known, at that time, were men. I remember wondering, was God only accessible to … Read more

Reflections of a Co-Traveler – 35 Days across the Ocean

The trip to get from Ottawa to Beirut was not that eventful except for us almost not finding the gate for the plane to Geneva in Montreal (it was tucked away behind the Victoria’s Secret sign). I was not sure how I would handle so many flights and the long leg between Montreal and Geneva, but it wasn’t too bad – I guess expecting the worst make things smoother in the end. I was, however, quite surprised by the Geneva airport as I was expecting a larger airport with more modern functionality. When we arrived in Geneva, there was no … Read more

A Place of Faith, Hope and Perseverance – September 17, 2018

As our days gradually advance in Lebanon, our experiences deepen with the people around us. I met and listened to many people about their hardships and their daily struggles. Stories of children unable to go to school, young adult men and women, taking care of their parents. Some dedicated 100% to this care and unemployed, others balancing, work, children and elder parent care, as there are no government institutions to care for the ageing and the ill, unless they are admitted to the hospital or in a private retirement home, to which people have no full trust. This morning I … Read more

A Blessed Memory: Living Witnesses – September 15-16, 2018

A whirlwind of emotions has swept through these first four days in Beirut. On Saturday the 15th, before my friend came to take us to the most beautiful place in Lebanon that I had always wanted to visit, the Jeita Grotto, my nephew offered to take us to the Armenian Cemetery Center in Bourj Hammoud, as soon as he heard me say that I wanted to visit where my father, Vramchabouh, his mother, Perouz, and his sister Hripsime, have been laid to rest in an unmarked grave. For some reason, my family has not been able to mark the plot … Read more

Life Abundant and Hope Unending – September 13-14, 2018

The day after our arrival, we slept in, even though the entire city of Bourj Hammoud never sleeps. The water delivery man came early in the morning and delivered drinking water, 3-4 18-litre jugs were delivered to the 5th floor of the building that has no elevator. Even though I heard the commotion of the delivery, I was still in bed and trying to come down from the flight – recovering from the Jet Lag took longer than I expected. Later, I asked my nephew, “How does this delivery man do it?” His answer was, “You would do whatever it … Read more

Praise be to God, You are Here Safely – September 12, 2018

What a historical day! September 12, 2018, marks exactly 35 years of my entering the U.S.A. on September 12, 1983, and my exodus from Lebanon. Our flight for our arrival back to Beirut Airport was Ottawa-Montreal-Geneva-Beirut. For some reason, our flights from Ottawa and Geneva were delayed, however, we were able to make the connections and arrive in Beirut at about 5 p.m. instead of 4:30, but Gary and I were the very last individuals standing in line to pass Lebanese customs. It was interesting to have a customs officer come and stand next to us as the other officer … Read more

Life’s Journey – Returning to My Roots – with New Found Wings

Dear Friends & Family, It seems that it was just yesterday that the sabbatical journey conversations were starting to take place between The Elgin-Portland Pastoral Charge and I, but that was more than eighteen months ago. August 26 marked the last Sunday Worship Celebration for me to officiate in 2018, before beginning this sabbatical journey on September 1. Between planning the trip to Lebanon and Armenia, and balancing curve balls of family duties, I have had the privilege to be with one hundred and seventeen amazing women at Quin-Mo-Lac (A Bay of Quinte Conference / United Church of Canada Sponsored … Read more

Let There Be Light – Collection for Sale

Dear Friends, Back on August 24, 2016, my very first book of Poetry, Prayers and Photography arrived at our doorstep – “The True Gift Lives On”. This day was a historical one, as it marked thirty years and three days from the date of my arrival to Canada. The first thing I did was make a list of names to send a gift copy to individuals to say thank you for being part of my journey. Of course, I started with my family, closest friends and institutions such as Concordia University’s Theology Dept. and the United Theological College, both in … Read more

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