It’s a blazing hot late-summer day. Julie Beemer, an American missionary, leads a group of visitors through the streets of a small town within the Beqaa Valley—a fertile region in eastern Lebanon. Inside a barbershop, teenage boys from neighboring Syria practice the latest styles on each other. Next door, a Syrian butcher prepares a sheep for Eid-al Ahda, the Muslim feast of sacrifice at which the story of Abraham is remembered.
Beemer leads her group to a nearby refugee camp run by the U.N. The camp was built eight years ago for people fleeing across the border during the Syrian civil war. Beemer and her husband Matt founded a missions organization and have settled in Lebanon to send missionaries throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
Beemer returns to the camp whenever possible, checking in on those with whom she’s built a relationship. She often delivers food and supplies on her visits, feeling burdened for these outsiders not only because they’ve been driven from their homes but also because of their receptivity to the gospel. And through a partnership with In Touch, she has been able to present the Messenger audio device. Beemer remembers first listening to Dr. Stanley when she was a teenager in the U.S. “I loved his stories and balanced practical teaching, which gave me so much to think about throughout my day,” she says. And now she’s able to use the same teaching, translated into Arabic, with the refugees she hopes to reach for Christ.
At one home in the camp, the household matriarch greets her with a warm hug. “I remember we prayed for you and your baby,” she says. “And your husband, is he free of the chest pains?” Smiling, the woman says yes. She then explains that her sister has diabetes and needs prayer, and Beemer listens intently while holding the family’s youngest child in her lap. The woman, who has quietly shown interest in Jesus since receiving a Messenger, believes the missionary’s prayers for her husband were effective. Beemer takes her hand and prays for the Great Physician to do His good work yet again.
At another home, Beemer is greeted by Fatimah and her sister Maria, both of whom were widowed by the war. Thanking Beemer for a Messenger given previously, Fatimah says listening to it helped bring peace. Regretfully, she adds that her son with special needs accidentally broke it. “Please, if you have another, I would be happy to receive it.” Beemer gladly agrees.
“These Messengers may be small,” Beemer says, “but they have so much inside of them. As you listen, the words will go into your heart.”
The women ask for prayer before she leaves, mostly for their sons and daughters. The children haven’t had schooling in seven years, and the mothers are worried. Beemer takes their hands, bows her head, and does what she loves best: She asks her heavenly Father to continue to make Himself known to the refugees she so loves.
Photography by Ben Rollins