The days are getting fuller as the week winds on. Chapel, class, lunch (which is a social event), teaching the staff a 90 minute module of spiritual warfare followed by another 90 minutes very personal interactions. We had a bit of a break to do Portland work via email then supper with Rosette and Sarah, two of our longest time ABTS friends. They are the ones closest in the picture. Ironically we went to a Mexican restaurant. Other than ABTS cafeteria meals we have had only one Lebanese meal. Somehow we end up with lasagna or Starbucks â€“ though the Starbuckâ€™s here are a little different than in the USA.
Shock!! Rosette introduced her nephewâ€™s wife as we got in the car, noting that she was from Ukraine. Immediately, I asked, â€œfrom where?â€ â€œOdessa,â€ she replied. I told her Iâ€™d taught at Odessa Theological Seminary many times. As Rosetteâ€™s car moved into the illumination of the street light, I recognized Maria. She wasnâ€™t in my classes since she was in a different program, but weâ€™d talked briefly several times. What a small world that Iâ€™d come from the USA and meet a student from the Ukraine in Beirut. To build on the irony, her husband is on a business trip to the Ukraine and her work made it impossible for her to join him.
I ended up sitting across from Marvin, Rosetteâ€™s son, and Jade, his best friend. They are both avid, well read theology students so we got into it quickly. Maria, sitting next to Marvin, went back and forth from conversation with the women and theology, ending up with theology. After supper we went to Rosetteâ€™s house for tea and sweets and they got me into a conversation on what the Bible actually commands for husbands and wives. The idea that submit (following Jesus in the Garden) means give your feelings, desires and trust was almost as revolutionary as the point that husbands are never commanded to be the head but to love by giving themselves for their wives and to love by nurturing and cherishing their wives. I think we could have gone all night.