Are there avenues through which American professionals can use their expertise to serve Christ by serving the Arab world? Yes!
Dr. David Finn, Dr. Michele Haralson and Dr. Brenda Richards are all wonderful examples of this. LSESD was privileged to have these education professionals, sent by the Consortium for Global Education (CGE) in Atlanta, Georgia, with us in January. CGE members are “committed to a high value of quality academic education and support the internationalization of higher education through student and faculty global participation” (www.cgedu.org). Drs. Finn, Haralson and Richards served Lebanese schools, training and encouraging teachers and parents.
Dr. Brenda Richards, who was in Lebanon this past April for the launching of the National Day for Students with Learning Differences, says she could see a lot of growth in the number of schools SKILD is in and the growth in knowledge of the therapists. She also mentioned that the respect level for SKILD in the schools is very high. Dr. Richards remarked, “we can help the Lebanese care for their special needs children. We have the knowledge and we are responsible to share that with others and in this we will be able to show love to all.”
Dr. Richards was able to stay in Lebanon for an extra week to work with the True Vine School in Zahle for Syrian refugee children. The school offers education in Math, English, Arabic, Geography, History and Science. Dr. Richards has 29 years of teaching experience in grades K-3, so she really enjoyed her time with the grades K-4 students at the True Vine School. Richards read books to the students in each class with the help of a translator. The children listened intently and were so excited to have “Dr. Brenda” with them. She spent time not only with the children, but with the teachers of the school. The True Vine faculty members are from Syria and have a heart to teach the children so that they can have the chance for a brighter future.
It’s not always easy to teach children who have been out of school for two years due to the war. The challenges are complex. They are teaching children who are not only behind academically, but who have been torn by war and have most likely experienced and seen things that are difficult for them to process. “But oh, the happiness on the children’s faces,” Dr. Richards shared. “They are so glad to be in school again!” This school began in October. According to the principal, there are rarely absences because the children do not want to miss school. “We need to love the children enough to meet their educational needs, but also to be able to see the great opportunity it is to have an open door with the Syrian people,” explained Dr. Richards. “This time won’t come again and it won’t last forever. It is a blessing to have this short time to pour into these children.” This time of war for Syria is heartbreaking, but to experience what God is doing in the midst of tragedy is a blessing. “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
To learn how you can support the efforts of SKILD and the True Vine School, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.