Sunday, June 20, 2010


Last week a couple of friends from Boston (Joel and Allison) came to stay with us in Abu Dhabi, and we spent five days taking them on a tour of greatest hits – to grand malls and the Grand Mosque, the resort in the desert, to Dubai to see the record-setting buildings and fantastic fountains, and of course, our favorite Lebanese restaurant. Having visitors always helps me to see where I live with fresh eyes – they point out the interesting and unusual things that I have become used to seeing and have taken for granted. It's fun to be reminded of these things.

Allison and Joel at Ibn Battuta Mall
Burj Khalifa

Dubai Fountain

Most salient to me about the visit was the comfort of being with old friends, people who know our histories and weaknesses, with whom we have broken bread at least a few dozen times, who ask about our family members by name. People with whom we can skip politeness and get to the heart of the matter. Joel and Sam resumed whatever intense theological discourse they were having last time we saw each other, and Allison and I cooked together and compared notes on our careers and marriages. And we laughed. The genuine kind of laughter that makes you shut your eyes and hold your sides. The kind you can really only share with true friends – the kind of friends who will travel half way around the world to see you.

Joel and Allison are dear friends, and have amazing hearts to serve God and bring hope to the people of Africa in particular, which includes raising money to send Ugandan orphans to school and provide them with means to support themselves. You can read about their inspiring work at


  1. Reading about your wonderful time showing Allison and Joel the highlights brings back such warm memories of my times there. I felt an instant deja vu when I saw the photos of the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountain. I'm so happy for your warm reunion with your friends and for the friendship you described, which is priceless.

  2. It's surreal to look at your blog picture now that I've actually stood outside on your patio and seen the view myself! After we left, Allison and I were both talking about how great it was to spend time with you guys. Both of you are dear and treasured friends. Next stop, Kigali? Or CapeTown, perhaps...