I grew up in a Christian family in Beirut, Lebanon. When I was only nine years old, the civil war broke out which resulted in my having quite a different childhood in many ways.
My Dad was a tailor born and raised in Antiyoke, Turkey. At age sixteen he fled to Lebanon with his family, where he met my mother. But something significant happened before he met her. He met Jesus and became a born-again Christian. My mother, a kindergarten teacher, was already a born-again Christian.
After they married, God blessed them with four children. They loved and cared well for us. During the civil war they did everything loving parents could do to protect us children from bullets, bombs, and explosions that could have killed us. Though I was only ten, I remember one of many sleepless nights because of the shooting and heavy bombing. It went on all night.
During that sleepless night, my mother was thinking about how she would feed our family. She knew that there would be no available bread over the next few days. My Baba (Dad), as we call him, had already stood in one long line to get bread. He could only get one package, and no more, because the bread was gone. And with the bombing, he could not go anywhere, and even if he could, the prospect for bread was nil because there was no flour available for the bakeries.
My mother gathered the older two children, my brother and me, around her to pray. We knelt by the bed and prayed from our hearts asking God to provide bread for our family. Then my mother looked at my siblings and me and started telling us a story that she once read in a book of missionary stories. And as a teacher, she was a great story teller.
She told us that the missionary family had no food, but they prayed and asked God to provide. Not long afterwards the missionary family found a basket full of food at the doorstep. Through a relative God sent them the food. The family praised God and thanked Him for His provision.
A few hours later the bombs started again, then stopped at lunch time for a couple hours. During that time when as we say in Lebanon not even a cat is on the street because of how dangerous it was to be out, we heard a man’s voice calling our family name: “The house of Kahaleh, anybody home?” My mother rushed outside to see our pastor under shelling coming down the stairs (where my parents still live) with loaves of bread in his arms. He looked at my mother and said: “I don’t know what brought me here, but it was clear that I needed to come to your home with some bread.” My mother didn’t hesitate and loudly told him: “I told Him (God) and He sent you to us.” Then she told our pastor what happened.
I thank God for my mother who was a good example for me and my siblings. Now that I am 47, I see much of her in me. She taught me how to know who I am in God’s eyes. She also taught me to never hesitate to talk about Him to my two girls. I share with them the answers to prayer and the blessings He gives.
Hoda and her husband Camille Melki live in the country of Lebanon. Together they founded the ministry Heart for Lebanon. Hoda and Camille have two daughters, May-Lee, age 22 and Amy, age 19.