Recently a small group of us met, outside in social distance space, to talk about the warnings of an upcoming food shortage crises here in Lebanon. The prices in the grocery stores have trippled since our arrival eight months ago. Foremost, on our minds is the refugees who already struggle to put food on the table. Also, on our minds are the Lebanese, whom 56% of them are living below the poverty line.
Clean water must be purchased to drink here, so dozens of empty 10L bottles are often piled around. In our meeting, we decided that these jugs would be prepared, cut, filled with dirt and a vegetable plant, and given to the refugees to grow on their little balcony’s (if they have them). While this will not fill tummies full, it is a start. If the project takes off, and we continue to have help, then we will expand to even more people. Many of the families at Middle East University are helping prepare these containers. Ideally, we would have our refugee friends prepare everything, but under COVID-19 circumstances this is not possible right now.
Sitting around one evening we came up with the acronym for this project: SOIL Serving Others in Lebanon
SOIL is not the only thing born. A tiny little girl was also, weighing in at 1.4 kg and 11 weeks early. Her name is Asma, which means the sky. Her mommy delivered her in the ambulance ride on the way to the close by government hospital. She is our refugee friend’s, niece. Friends are helping to sponsor her stay in the NICU, as Osman’s brothers have been laid off work during the virus, with no stimulus checks in sight. This week we ventured out to pay the first part of Asma’s hospital bill and to my surprise her Grandpa and I got to go into the NICU and see her. Such a tiny little one. She appears stable and has gained .2 kg in the week. Please pray for her little life.
Darron is delighting in making beautiful compost with our tumbler and vegetable/fruit scraps. I was smiling this week thinking about how God loves good dirt also. He made the impossible out of dirt, human life. We pray that as we start this initiative of SOIL that God will make the impossible happen again and bless this dirt and these plants, and the lives that they impact with HOPE.