Well, one thing I am learning for sure is that everyday I can learn something new! Every moment here is a chance to hear a story I have never heard, to eat something I have never eaten, or to meet a people I have never met. It's amazing and it's what makes me love to travel the Earth. I love meeting God's people and seeing what He is doing all over the world! This is why I do what I do.
God is a God of the nations. One day, every tribe, every tongue, and every nation WILL confess that Jesus is Lord. Yesterday, I met Ali Amja's (Uncle Ali's) family. Pastor Ali has now asked me to call him Uncle Ali as he says I am like a child of his own. We spent the whole day at his house with his family. Although, there were many awkward moments because of the language barrier, I enjoyed it greatly.
I ate a traditional Middle Eastern meal from this country. We sat on the floor on a table cloth as to not get the floor dirty. Some of the food was definitely a "treat." I almost gagged at one point, but it was great and I continued to eat with a smile! It was pickled something, can't remember the name. I also couldn't understand half of what they were saying to each other except for the few times Julie and Josh translated for me, but I felt the love of God in that home. I felt so loved and accepted though I was an outsider.
I fell in love with this particular family so quickly and all because the love of God was there and He was real in that place. I also quickly grew very fond of Ali's daughter who is nineteen years old. She was so funny and at the beginning very shy, but eventually began to interact with me more even though she didn't speak any English.
I did, however, discover though that she understood more English than she spoke. I don't think she felt very confident to speak it at first. At one point, Julie left to pick up Josh at the church and I was so scared! Outside of little three year old Lucy, I didn't have a translator! Lucy, though, helped me a lot! I've been in these situations many times before, so it didn't take me long for my heart to stop beating outside of my chest! I know how this works.
If you want to learn any language, the best way is to be thrown straight into the culture. I will say that one way we were able to relate was over tea! I learned many words that related to this drink, like sugar, hot, etc. This also helped me a lot. Once Julie left, the daughter of Ali felt sorry for me so she began to translate. I was shocked! She knew more English than she was letting on! She made me feel much more comfortable though and I think we could become pretty good friends before I leave here. I hope so because she seems really cool.
Towards the end of the night, they had a small home group meeting. I also met some of the other people who go to their church. After the Bible study, I was able to hear the testimony of Ali's encounter with Jesus as a Muslim and his conversion experience! It was sooo amazing! He has a video on his testimony that I have heard many good things about, but I wanted to hear from his own mouth what happened. Josh was able to translate which was such a blessing.
During the middle of his story, Ali began to cry at the thought of how thankful he was to Jesus for saving him. I also began to cry with him at how much I take for granted the things I have in America with my freedoms. He is truly persecuted here for all that he is doing pretty intensely, but he never talks about those bad stories or the death threats he receives daily.
He only shares what the Lord is doing that is good in this place and in his life! He is so positive and encouraging. He is such an amazing man to be around because he truly has the heart of the Father God. Though we were from opposite sides of the world, I felt so safe next to him and in his home with his family. My heart is beginning to fall in love with this place though it has been such a short time. There is something different about this place than the other places I have visited.
We will be taking a trip on Sunday to see a few of Josh's friends in another village, which I am excited about. Also, Julie and I will be taking a separate trip to one of the most historical sights in the world in a few weeks which I am also very excited about! God is so good and I am learning so much about His love.
I am also discovering that on this journey here, God is beginning to heal my heart of some deep wounds that have been there for a long time. Yesterday, Uncle Ali prophesied over me many things though I don't know if he knew he was doing that or not. The words he spoke penetrated my heart more than I can explain right now. I am finding healing within my soul and for that I am so grateful to Jesus.
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