Why are we working in Lebanon? It is such a rich country. Or so it seems.
BMWs are everywhere. Last night a brand new Mercedes-Benz 500 sports car flashed past the World Vision van.
On the way from the airport I saw three Porsche 928s. Admittedly, one of them had no wheels, window glass, or engine. And it was riddled with bullet holes.
And there's the reason that World Vision is here. The war. The BMWs, by the way, are second-hand rust buckets imported from Europe.
For the past 16 years Lebanon has been at war. A war, in great part, not of its own making. Other people's war.
As the Minister of the Interior said to us, "We Lebanese are not without guilt for this war. But we are not entirely to blame."
Israel, Syria and Iran have all played a major part in encouraging violence.
The destruction in Beirut is impossible to describe. Street after street of bombed out buildings. Their internals violated. Whole floors collapsed like pancakes. Walls with gaping shell holes. Pink tiled bathrooms ripped open, the plumbing hanging like torn sinews in mid-air.
None of this is new to John Winkett who was making his 4th visit to Lebanon.
Over and over people said, "Thank you to World Vision for continuing to come, even when your government advised against it."
We visited projects and people. The lovely upper class women from "The Voice of the Lebanese Women" who run a kindergarten, craft shop, and special programmes for the handicapped.
Their school is right at one place where the fighting was fiercest.
One family came into Beirut as internal refugees when they saw their whole village destroyed by soldiers. Everything they owned was lost.
Another family of five live in one room under a bombed building. When the shelling started a dozen or more neighbours would crowd into their tiny space.
"Didn't you object?"
"Why should we? They're neighbours."
During a special "Thank You" dinner for staff I sat next to Alia. She told me her father had been kidnapped in 1986. They had not heard a thing to this day. They do not know whether he is alive or dead.
Next to me on the other side was Marwon. As he drove away from his home on the way to University, a huge car bomb exploded. His home, from which the rest of his family had departed only minutes earlier, was completely demolished. Everything was lost.
Marwon's ear drums were shattered and he sustained shrapnel wounds to every part of his body. Everyone else moving on the street at the time was killed.
He was given artificial ear drums and can hear well now. Just a few weeks ago, Marwon had further surgery to remove pellets of glass from his body.
Glenda Orland and her team will be pleased to know we received coverage on all four television channels on two occasions during our visit.
The first was the handing over of two fire engines from Western Australia and two ambulances from Tasmania.
The Civil Defence Authority praised us for the fire engines. They said they were a very useful size, a little smaller than the other ones they have.
The Administrator of St George's Hospital was overjoyed at the ambulance. In superb condition and with all its accessories still intact it is a helpful addition.
"I need to ask for one thing when you come again," said the administrator.
"What's that?"
"A steering wheel. This one is on the wrong side!"
Our second television appearance was when we met with President Hrawi. We were sitting quietly having a nice chat in the President's room when there was a quiet knock on the door. In came four television crews with lights. It felt as though they had mistaken our visit for the Bush-Gorbachev summit.
Later I made a statement to the cameras indicating our love for the people of Lebanon., and the reasons for our visit.
It was clear that our moral support was at least as important as our practical support.
"The world seems to have forgotten Lebanon," we were told many times.
Now there is a Syrian sponsored peace, everyone outside of Lebanon seems to think Lebanon is OK. But the real work is only beginning.
Billions of dollars are needed for reconstruction.
The President expressed his hope that the Australian government would set up the embassy in Beirut again soon.
And that many Lebanese who had fled the difficulties would now think about coming home.
If bookings on the flights into Beirut are any indication many are coming home. Every seat is full. Many will be Lebanese coming for a visit, but hopefully many will return.
Lebanon is a unique country in the Middle East. Now with its new government there is genuine power sharing between the two main religious groups, the Christians and the Muslims.
I believe most Lebanese do not want to be fighting their brothers and sisters. They prefer to live in tolerance and peace.
Let us pray, and work, to make this possible.