At the end of the report on the trip to Turkey, Dan read the following...
My Last Night in Camp
Thursday was our last day in the camps to work directly with the refugees. It was our seventh straight day among the tents.
I was tired of the mud. I was tired of the heart pulling need. I was tired of the look on mother faces as they begged us to help their children with things we didn’t have.
I was tired of the mud. I was tired of trying to understand and be understood with no common language.
I was tired of the mud. We were all tired.
It’s dark, very dark. There are no street lights. The meager light from a single small flashlight is getting more meager every minute. We have been slogging from tent to tent all afternoon assessing the need for food and giving coupons to those in greatest need. They will not get help that day but will have to wait one more day to cook an adequate meal for their families. We have left our relatively secure area for a little more questionable one.
Halil has asked his son to stick close to me as a body guard. I don’t ask why he thinks I might need one. Every step in the blackness and mud could trigger a trip and face plant into the overflowed latrines and mud. A local pastor is leading the way. He is energized and driven because thinks he hears a baby crying. A friend of his, another pastor, arrived to donate baby supplies and is determined that they get to the little ones as soon as humanly possible. The man’s heart is huge.
Off we go again and now on to another tent. The pastor visits for a minute with the family inside to find out where the baby is. With new direction, we head off across the mud again to find the tearful, grateful mother. With broken hearts, we give the mother her coupon and directions of how to pick up her supplies. Though we know we have blessed her we know she is still living in a tent in the cold and the supplies will not last two weeks.
I’m tired of the mud.
This play is repeated over and over again. We find mothers and children to help but we also find tents of imposters who have gone to their warmer homes at night. They are only there during the day to get whatever they can for reasons we don’t dare to guess.
Our local pastor thinks he hears another baby out in the darkness somewhere and off we go again.
We go past and are checked out by a group of young men who don’t seem supportive of what we are doing. No time to think about that because the pastor is sure we haven’t found all the babies yet.
The little flash light is getting dimmer yet and there is no way three people can pick their way through the mud by its meager beam. I am the slowest and struggling to keep up and desperately trying not trip on the rocks and holes and ropes that define the route through the mud in the daylight.
I’m tired of the mud.
Soon we leave this area and seem to be heading back to the car. My body is exhausted but my heart is with the pastor. Is there just one more baby we might have missed?
Suddenly the pastor turns off the path and heads for the very worst of the flooded areas. We had surveyed this area a couple days ago. He seems to remember a newborn in a rough looking tent. He turns to me with same kind of encouragement he has offered all night “minister baby”. And we do.
Finally, he raises his hands like a victorious prize fighter. He thinks he has found them all. With very few words spoken, we head back to the hotel and the pastor takes a bus home. We crash in our rooms and pretend it’s over. God led three naive Canucks across the globe to try to help. We gave people hope for next week. We did it in the name of Jesus. That’s a good thing. We thank God for His grace and direction and for using us to make a difference.
What is God’s plan for us and these people going forward? I don’t know. I know if God says “Go” or “Do” or “Give” I can be part of that plan. Maybe His next word isn’t to me. Maybe it will be to you. Everyone of can be part of the Hope Solution.
Maybe God’s next call won’t be to Turkey. Maybe it will be to those without hope here in Red Deer. The Red Deer hopeless may not be as hungry but without Christ they are just as much without hope.
We got something done on our trip. Others have heard about it there, and there is hope that the work might carry on. There is a lot to do but there is hope. We want to be part of that plan, God willing.
This got started because of some people who all realized they were not qualified for the task at hand yet said "Yes" anyway. We can all say "yes" when God calls. None of us are qualified to fix the problems that sin has caused in this world. But we can all say "yes".
And we all can be amazed at how God can use anyone who admits that it is all about God, and His will and not about us at all.
One of the many overwhelming feelings I am left with after this part of this adventure is this... seeing how much impact simple acts of service can have.
We didn’t know many of the challenges we were going to face but we had front row seats to watch God raise up men, break down age old barriers, and reveal Himself as the God of love in a nation where their god seems to be a god of trouble.