For the past three and a half years our family has been living in the city of Beirut, and working with marginalized people groups in different parts of the country of Lebanon. Whilst the news about countries in the Middle East do not paint a hopeful picture for people in this part of the world, our hearts fill up with excitement to see the different ways God is leveraging the skills of IDEAS personnel in partnership with local groups to help restore hope to the people of this region.
At IDEAS, we talk about leveraging our professional skills to restore hope in communities around the world. Three years ago, IDEAS introduced the short-term trip option that allows many professionals the opportunity to be involved in a small way towards the bigger picture. I just returned from East Asia where I saw love and hope at work in a short amount of time.
The most important way to meaningfully enter into the life of a new country and culture is to learn the local language. Learning a new language is difficult. It can make you feel like bungling three year old. It may take months (or years!) to master. But the payoff is worth it.