David and Maxine King

“There were times when mortar shells were falling on the seminary campus. During those years, we lived while over 100,000 people died violent deaths all around us.” — David King

Appointed as missionaries to Beirut, Lebanon, in 1959, David and Maxine King could never have imagined the violence they would live through in the coming decades. But ministry through war characterized their years of service in the late ‘70s and the ‘80s.

In 1984, David told the Baptist Press, “A few years ago I wrote an article entitled ‘Learning to Live with Guns.’ Now it is far more than guns. It is car bombs, mortar bombs and airplane bombs. It is artillery shells, long range rockets, rocket-propelled grenades, naval artillery, tank cannons, recoilless rifles and all manner of small guns.”

The Kings and other missionaries living through the war adjusted their daily lifestyles in order to remain in the country as long as possible. They changed their driving routes to avoid dangerous roads, planned accordingly for school closings, and canceled evening events when necessary. David, who taught at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, told about a night that explosions sent him and his wife to the seminary basement for safety. Maxine had cooked a turkey for dinner and the two enjoyed it over a workbench in the basement. “Such is life in Lebanon these days!” he quipped.

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