First and foremost, the relationships that we’ve built with people here, friends at the office, in our local church and among the people that we’ve served. Sharing life together and hearing their life-stories has been deeply enriching.
A Heart for the City
by Colin Gibson
Program Officer | Dar Manhal Al Hayat (DMAH)
The Gateway Bookshop is much ‘more than just amazing books’. From hosting internationally acclaimed authors, to providing a place of quiet contemplation, our retail bookstore now offers a host of options in addition to selling books and gifts. We are pleased that The Gateway Bookshop is able to meet the needs of churches and the local community in new ways. These include weekly meetings for church youth groups, Bible studies, occasional ‘story time’ readings for younger children and an ‘away day’ venue for teams from other LSESD ministries. Importantly, it also gives Claudette, our store manager, a better environment to meet with customers who feel in need of a listening ear – whether this is to be guided to a book that is the right fit for them or so they can share their needs and receive prayer.
All of this comes about through a reconfiguration and remodeling of the upper level of the bookstore to provide comfortable seating and the option of a ‘coffee and cookie’ in a quiet and airy space. It is already proving popular and we are immensely pleased that people are taking advantage of being in a Christian bookstore to find a book that they like among the many titles on offer in English, French and Arabic. We also hope to attract more passersby, in this busy part of Beirut, as well as provide a haven for those visiting loved ones in the nearby hospitals – with our staff on hand to offer guidance, spiritual support and care if needed.
Recently we were pleased to have Philip Yancey at The Gateway Bookshop signing some of his books including our own Arabic translation of ‘What’s so amazing about Grace’. Philip also encouraged us to love in practical and tangible ways and to demonstrate in our Middle Eastern context what he called “pioneer settlements of the Kingdom of God”.
Please join with us as we pray for further opportunities to use this new facility to support the local church and community.