I’ve found myself in a new season of life. One characterized by wings, wrestling, tears, and blessing.

What is something new you’d like to try this year? Visiting a new country? Starting a new hobby? Joining a new group? Starting a new relationship? Learning a new skill? Stepping into a new career? Or stepping into your current career in new ways?

I have just recently started to feel like I’m catching a glimpse of the “other side” of my loneliness after six long months here in my native-born country. My heart has been aching with loneliness: "New Situation," "I'm Different," "No Friends."

Gift-giving is a custom many cultures have in common. Giving is a universal language that communicates love, grace, and gratitude. Whether you are the one giving or receiving, gift-giving invites into vulnerability and humility, into openness and acceptance of what you have to offer and what others have to offer you.

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At IDEAS we focus on restoring hope to forgotten and overlooked communities. This year during Advent, I’ve been reminded that restoring hope often begins with simply being present.

It’s like a switch deep inside me. I can turn it on, but it’s more common for me to turn it off.  

Working with IDEAS has opened my eyes and heart to the many needs and opportunities we serve worldwide. I am humbled and inspired by the sacrifices that you and our associates make in order to see lives transformed in communities of contagious hope.

To hope means to wait for something that has not yet happened. Waiting can be excruciating, especially if you are waiting for help, for relief, for a cure, for a safe home, for resources to live, and for physical, emotional, or spiritual healing.

Recently, during a meeting with the staff of a local organization we work with here in Lebanon, we were reminded that sometimes miracles take time.

Greetings from the beautiful farmland of North Africa!