As you may recall from some of our previous blogs, Brady and his wife Amber have been serving abused and abandoned children in Beirut for over seven years with Tying Vines. Their time is winding down now and as they prepare for their transition back to the United States, we asked Brady to reflect upon their time working and serving in the Middle East and how they are viewing the next thing God has planned for them.
13 years ago we landed in a country in the Middle East thinking we would be church planters, but after years of working far from our team members, we found we couldn’t get a visa to work where our team was.
So then we moved countries and became university professors, and waited for years for people to join our team so that we could do ministry in the country and city we were in, but they never came. We were able to do ministry there mostly alone but the time there took a toll on us and we needed to find a different way to serve.
Then we went to Lebanon to start a school for abused and abandoned children from the streets. This was successful in many ways. We started the school, had a full team working with us and all sorts of great stuff was happening. But then COVID, Revolutions, Economic Collapse, and being too successful forced us to end the project when the government determined the children should attend government schools (the children were not attending any schools when we arrived).
So after our school program ended we were unable to leave Lebanon because we were adopting a child from the Children’s Home we worked with and we were stuck navigating the local legal system and thus stuck in the country.
But thankfully during the time starting and running the school Amber and I had a CRASH course of learning what trauma does to children, and how to create trauma informed programs in places where the word “trauma” didn’t even make sense. So we began using those skills in the country as we found ministry outlets working with parents of foster and adopted kids, NGOs working with kids from trauma, and doing art with children on the streets and we had a new mission.
Knowing what we do now, as we are hoping to transition back to the States and continue our ministry there, we realize we will probably not be doing anything near to what we expect to be doing. The only difference now from when we landed in the Middle East 13 years ago is we expect to not know what we are doing, but the only thing that matters is to be cool with following Jesus wherever He leads.