Before I begin I want to apologize for missing the past couple days. One of those quirks of life that for some reason seem to be all more frequent in this part of the world has happened and made my ability to write here next to impossible. A couple nights back there was an electrical fire in the apartment two floors below me. Everybody was OK and there was no physical damage to anybody except the barrage on all of our olfactory senses since wire and rubber and plaster all give off a terrible smell when burning and that smell does seem to get everywhere and then stay there.
Normally I have been writing each day’s selection the evening before and my plan was to do my English lesson plans and then write on a Christmas song but this fire put a stop to those plans. That evening I had no electricity and no internet. The next morning when I woke, there was still no electric and no internet as well as no heat for either me or my shower. Fun times. I did make a visit to Starbucks where I bought a bottle of water and mooched their internet but the time I did spend on that internet was to download everything I might need for my two classes Saturday, one class Sunday, and two classes today. One lesson I have learned in my time in Turkey is to make hay when the sun shines. You never know how long these things will take to be worked out. It is a good thing too because although the electric was back up and running by the time I came home Saturday night, the internet itself wasn’t back on until this morning. So I do apologize for this delay but some things are just beyond our control.
Before jumping in, I also want to share briefly about the bombing in Besiktas [here]. I am now living almost as far from where it happened as Tennessee is from Maine, but for over a year Istanbul was my home. Besiktas was the area where I first stayed in a hostel while looking for a more permanent place to stay and Besiktas is still my favorite Turkish Football team. I have another friend who is an M in the city and worked closely with one of the victims. Please pray for a just peace for all in those in this region. In many ways the situation here parallels Palestine in the time of Christ. There is an unjust oppressive government as well as militant “freedom fighters” who misguidedly use terror as their means of revolt. Caught in between are simply many people who long for a Messiah and just want to get on with their lives but acts like these make that impossible. The answer then is the same as now. We need Christ to come. Then he left the comfort and luxury of heaven and now He is calling those who are His body to leave their comfort and luxury to bring Him to those places that need Him the most.
I had a thought of what I was planning to write. I was going to talk about the Psalms of ascents. I was going to share a bit about my experience climbing some of the mountains in the Adirondacks. I had it all lined up to share how sometimes the coming is difficult, but current events kind of already shared that story for me. I mentioned my electric going out, but as I was talking about it with one of the others where I work with the Syrian refugees she mentioned how the day before was her son’s birthday party and they had to change everything they had planed. Just minutes later I was teaching my third graders when the power went out there. Three times in as many days seems a bit much but around here you come to expect things like this and just roll with it. While something like the bombing is a seeming cliff that looks impossible to scale, the little things like unreliable electric are more like a steady incline over rough terrain that can wear you down. Even still we are called to climb. Even still we are called to come.
I wish I could say that my situation is unique, but not really. Just a few hours before I write this, there was a tragic bombing in Cairo Egypt. I was speaking with friends yesterday from Nigeria where Boko Haram is just as immanent a threat as ISIS is here. I heard from a friend from India where slavery and especially sex slavery is a very real and prevalent part of the underground life in the inner cities. The same can be said for Thailand. There is also recent news of bombings in Mogadishu, Pakistan, Aleppo, and a bombing plot in Jakarta. Also Indonesia and other parts of the Pacific Southeast are reeling from a recent earthquake. I could go on and on. All around the world there are millions of people who for thousands of reasons of poverty, oppression and injustice are crying out for a Savior to come. Two thousand years ago He came incarnated in a little baby. This year He still comes, incarnated in you.
To pray, “Lord send someone” I guess is better than not praying anything at all. But my Christmas wish is that everyone reading this will not pray “Lord, send someone” but rather, “Lord, where will You send me?” There are places all around the world, places just like Gaziantep, Turkey, that are waiting for the faithful to come. They are waiting for the Advent that is a Son wrapped in you and me to come and shake their world. Next year, where will you be celebrating Christmas? Will it be Port Au Prince, Haiti? Will it be Rajshani, Bangladesh? Will it be Bosaso, Somalia? I can’t wait to see what will happen when the faithful truly become the Church and follows Jesus in putting aside their comfort to incarnate Him in a desperate world. Oh come, all you faithful.