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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Missionary takes spiritual quest abroad

For many student considering future careers and destination, Lebanon doesn’t often grace the list of possibilities. Yet it’s at the top of the list for at least one aspiring missionary on campus.
Junior business major Kyle Lawrence spent three months and eleven days in Beirut, Lebanon during the summer of 2012. There he lived as a missionary with an organization called Arabs for Christ. Lawrence doesn’t speak Arabic, was raised in a southern, conservative home and is a member of the Corps of Cadets – so how did he find himself in Lebanon, where he plans to move when he graduates in December?
“I started by reading through the book ‘Operation World.’ it just has descriptions of different countries from around the world and how to pray for them,” Lawrence said. “Somehow, I just got an interest in the Middle Eastern countries.”
During the Christmas break of 2011, Lawrence began forming plans to join a mission trip in the summer of 2012. He found Arabs for Christ, a small organization in Lebanon that formed about 5 years ago.
When people hear of Lawrence’s passion for the Middle East, many are skeptical. Questions of safety also ensue, but Lawrence brushes these comments off.
“I feel much safer being there than I do in parts of Dallas,” Lawrence said. “They don’t do purposeless violence like we do here,”
Lawrence’s friends have nothing but praise for him and his passion for world missions.
“Kyle is one of the smartest and goofiest guys I know, hands down. He has taken every approach he can to get to the Middle East as soon as possible,” said Alan Clayton, a sophomore business major and close friend of Lawrence.
Andrew Abbot, junior petroleum engineer, said Lawrence has been working diligently at home in order to reach Middle Eastern students.
“Kyle spends most all of his free time involved in the Arab Student Association here on campus,” Abbot said. “His heart lies with people from the Middle East.”
Much of the ministry done through Arabs for Christ is about relationships and evangelism. Lawrence and the team would hand out Bibles and DVDs to locals and tourists, trying to reach out beyond cultural barriers.
“[People in Lebanon] are extremely open and accepting,” Lawrence said. “If you are willing to reach out an arm of love or say hello to them they are usually really happy to talk to you.”
The organization also worked with refugees, teaching them to read and write.
“We’d also have kids’ meetings where we would feed the children and they’d get to color. Even coloring is something that is kind of new to them,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence says he plans to relocate to the country permanently after graduation.
“I will spend some time selling my stuff and I’ll say bye to everyone, and then I’ll head out February or March to live in Beirut permanently,” Lawrence said. “I would like to eventually live with a native Lebanese guy to dive headfirst into the culture.”
Lawrence has been learning Arabic since his last trip, but it is proving difficult, he said. While abroad this summer, he will be enrolled for about 20 hours a week in an Arabic language learning institute.
Lawrence’s trips are funded by donations from friends, family and local churches. Lawrence, who will not legally be able to work a job in the country due to his religious visa, said working with the ministry will occupy his time, though he does admit money will be an issue.
“Your pay check continually declines if you don’t come back home,” he jokes, “So I will probably come back every one to two years.”

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