On life's journey, whether traveling around the world or walking around your block, there's lots to learn about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness, so lets dive into a new ocean together!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Lady Traveler's memories of Turkey and Sweden

Lady Traveler's memories of Sweden and Turkey
Dinner with my Swedish girlfriends 2008

There is much talk about the world's refugees,
which takes me back to our journey
to Sweden and Turkey in the fall of 2008.

It's hard to believe that it has been 9 years since this journey.
We were blessed to have a house-sitter and dog-sitter
that enabled us to be gone for three weeks.
When God asks you to do something,
He always provides.
First, we flew to Sweden.
I was honored to be asked by my Swedish friend, Helene,
to speak to a group of Kurdish refugee women from Turkey.
Although they were completely covered, the lovely dark-skinned women lit up the small room.
They were timid.  They were kind.  They were hungry.
We gathered around a long table where they served, in my honor, 
the most delicious Kurdish dishes.
I usually can't eat before speaking (its called nerves),
but I made an exception.

Then it was time for me to share what God had placed on my heart.
At first it felt strange to once again be speaking with an interpreter,
but soon we were flowing together like old friends.

Afterwards, I offered to pray with those who wanted prayer.
Every woman waited patiently as I spent time
holding their hands and praying for them.
We hugged, then ate delicious desserts.

Believe me, I was the one who was blessed that day.
I thank Helene for the opportunity to spend time
with these refugees that needed a safe place to live.
To this day, the women and their families are not able to return to Turkey
due to the political atmosphere.
(no photos available)

A week later Rob and I took another leap of faith.
A small team of three Swedes--and us-- flew to Istanbul.
Planes, trains, buses, and hours of walking in a city filled with thousands of people.
Bus lines were blocks long.  How did they get to work on time? I wondered.
So many people.  Strangers to me, but not to God.
He sent us to minister to a handful of Armenian refugee leaders who had begun a 
Christian work in this city of millions.
Leaders that needed encouragement, love, and prayer.
That's the least we could do for these brave, courageous men and women.

In the flat of leaders of a local Christian church in Istanbul
(that's me and Rob on the right)

Praying for people in a beautiful church after an evening service.

Eating lunch with Pastor and his family, and other church members after Sunday church service
(Rob preached that morning. Afterwards we prayed for the congregation)

Istanbul, Turkey 2008

We saw many famous sites in this magnificent city,
but it was the beautiful people that left the most profound memories.
We met in small flats throughout the city, and in local churches.
Their courage to obey the call of God on their lives,
no matter what the cost,
will stay close to my heart forever.

Wherever I travel, near or far,
I am always knitted closely together with my Christian brothers and sisters.
I'm sure you find this to be true in your travels.

Let us not forget those who have fled their land in search of a
safe haven until they are once again able to return to their safe home.

A few travel tips:
Get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, and carry snacks.
Travel light.
Always have an interpreter with you whenever possible.
Much can get lost in translation.

I wish you oceans of travel blessings!

Now, I beseech you brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that you speak the same thing,
and that there be no divisions among you;
but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind,
and in the same judgement.
I Corinthians 1:10