On life's journey, whether traveling around the world or 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 often takes me back to our journey
to Sweden and Turkey in the fall of 2008.
Rob and I have many fond memories of our 3-week trip.
It's hard to believe that it has been 9 years.

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.
The lovely dark-skinned women lit up the small room.
They were covered.  They were timid.  They were kind.
We gathered around a long table where they served the most delicious 
Kurdish dishes in my honor.
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.
We flew to Istanbul with a small team of three Swedes.
Planes, trains, buses, and a lot 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 refugees who had begun a Christian work in the city.
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 some leaders of a local Christian church in Istanbul
Praying for people after an evening service.
Pastor and family after Sunday church service
(Rob preached that morning and we prayed for congregation)

Istanbul, Turkey 2008

We met in the small flats in the city and in local churches.
We saw the famous sites of this beautiful city,
but it was the beautiful people who left the most profound memories.
Their courage to obey the call of God on their lives,
no matter what the cost.
They 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.

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

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