Daisy: We both come from Christian families. We met the Focolare Movement at a Mariapolis, and since then the spirituality of unity has given meaning to our lives.
Samir: In 1989, during the war in Lebanon, the situation became dramatic with death and destruction all around us: no work; no school; offices closed . . . We moved to the United States where my brother was living. As a university lecturer I was entitled to a sabbatical year.
Daisy: It was an intense year with many trials that led us to experience God’s love that kept us together. We often wondered which choice was better, whether to return to Lebanon or to stay on in a country that had so much to offer. We had both found a job and were eligible for American citizenship. Moreover, our children’s future would be secured.
Samir: It wasn’t an easy decision, but we didn’t feel that we could abandon our country when it was going through such hard times. We consulted our children and our friends in the Focolare and decided that we would return to Lebanon. Actually, we were all quite convinced that loving our own people was more important than the security that could be offered to us by the United States.
Daisy: When we returned to Lebanon our lives changed. We realized that happiness doesn’t depend on external circumstances, but is the fruit of our relationship with God and with our brothers and sisters. In our country we live alongside Muslims and through the spirituality of unity have established real fraternity with many of them.
One time we had to go to a Focolare gathering in Syria, the country on the other side of the conflict. Relations were still difficult and full of prejudice and distrust. Yet, our experience was that these were our brothers and sisters and we should also give our lives for them.
Samir: We understood our role in witnessing to love between Muslims and Christians when we welcomed 150 mostly Muslim people at our Mariapolis Centre. We feel that our role as Christians in the Middle East isn’t merely to be here, but to be an active presence in politics and in governmental institutions.
Daisy: At the present moment when most of the Lebanese are anxious for the future and many are trying to leave the country, we feel God’s love that is with us every day, deeply rooting us in our land and helping us to spread hope.