A funny thing happened on the way through customs at LAX.
I was directed into one line. There were two. Then, as I was standing there — and shuffling forward slowly with about a thousand other people (literally) — an elderly couple sort of scooted into line next to me. They were, ahem, “cutting.” But I am not sure this was deliberate. More like providential.
The woman said to me, “Amerikani,” and showed me the passports she had in her hands: American passports. But she said she did not speak English. I began to wonder who these two were.
Despite the language barrier, I spoke with them and learned that they are from Lebanon. I could tell the woman, whose name was Modulalah, was a little bit afraid of where she was and what was happening. But even though she said she did not speak English, she knew three phrases: “thank you,” “good,” and “I love you.” I cannot tell you how much this touched my heart! I told her, in English, tho’ I don’t know if she understood at all, “Don’t be afraid; God is with you.”
As we approached the officers at the end of the line, I beckoned to this man and woman to come with me. When I reached the customs officer, I simply said, “Officer, my name is Jane Beal. I just met this couple. They are American passport holders from Lebanon. They speak Arabic. They may need a translator.”
“Thank you,” the officer said, and I noticed that he had an Arabic last name! I knew God had brought us to him, and he would be able to help this couple. He said to me, “Thank you for what you have done. We are proud of you.”
He helped me process through and then he helped this couple from Lebanon.
As I moved through, as I was directed, toward baggage claim, I had this overpoweringly clear sense of how much God loved this couple and was watching out for them. I don’t know their story, but I can tell that they are precious in God’s sight. Although the woman was dressed very modestly, she was not wearing a Muslim head-covering, and it occurred to me to wonder if she and her husband were Christians taking refuge in America.
May God bless them in this country, now and always.