If there was a reason we stayed for 7 years, this is it. Today. The people and their faith. We might have originally felt compelled to Turkey because of the adventure and the principle of such a huge number of people not knowing Christ, but we stayed because they stopped being numbers. When they became our friends and family, love kept us here.
Today you’ve worshipped in a Turkish church. A little building tucked away from the busy business street, full of people who love God desperately and love one another just as deeply. They have chosen to be different. Counter-cultural. A tiny minority in a land that values sameness. Think Jonas in The Giver.
You’ve spent time with friends. These dear people filled the roles of grandparent, sister and brother, aunt and uncle. When blood relatives were far, we became surrogate family to one another. And when distance separated us, they remained part of our heart. I hope you saw that today.
Where have you come from Ella?
You’ve come from rich relationships and stellar examples of people who sacrifice, serve, and suffer for the love of Jesus. Don’t misunderstand, this can look different and be lived out anywhere in the world in any career. The key is that they have identified an aspect of Jesus’ heart that breaks their heart and they are collaborating with him to bring the kingdom to earth as it is in heaven.
You’re only beginning this journey Ella. We’ll talk more about God’s second question to Hagar, “Where are you going?” in a few months. But know this: you were born into a legacy of strength. Today you spent time with some of them. They are strong of character. Strong in purpose. Strong in vision. Strong in stamina. Strong in faith.
Sometimes, in the American way of life, I think we can be distracted. But here, here we see more clearly. And today, I hope you have seen clearly that beautiful, lovely, incredible people welcomed you into this world and have watched you since.
It’s what family does. It’s what love looks like.
And I love you too,