From a Days Inn Lobby

by - February 20, 2014

For three days, in a basement meeting room where it was safe to freely speak, with the doors closed and hotel mattresses piled in the corner we talked about trust, sin, confession, freedom, and seeing ourselves through God's eyes with our friends. Believers who risk their lives when they say the name of Jesus where they live.  But they say it.  They sing it.  They proclaim it.  They came for some practical help, some tools they can use when helping one another through their everyday struggles.  To encourage and disciple.  They came for Hope.  Which happens to be the very core of the ministry I work for. God wants them to stay strong in it, and he has an abundant supply of it.  We didn't bring it with us, it was already there.  But, because of the resources we have through the dedication of the one who founded and those who serve this ministry, we had the opportunity to point it out, testify to it,  examine it in scripture and name it.  Jesus, and the Word that brings life.  It was a sweet and difficult few days as we were not safe from emotional and spiritual strain in that basement.  We were all there working things through.
The next day didn't have training in store for us, but an early morning walk through the nearby market, and then an afternoon meeting with a radio partner in Turkey.  Radio partner seems a little formal for the friends we met with.  They had pictures of June Hunt, Point of Grace and Charles Stanley on the wall.  They served us Turkish coffee, and we talked through where they are, where we are, and places we might meet in our work.  God is at work in big ways through them, and there are some upcoming ways we are going to get to partner with them more.  I will go with them to a new place.  Again.  Soon.  New plans tend to overwhelm me at first.  My co-workers are learning to let things sink in with me for a minute before asking for my thoughts. I shared the story a while ago about the first time I went to New York on a business trip and was telling my Grandma Bonnie and Grandpa Corky about it.  Pa, who had a world map that consisted only of Barnsdall and Bartlesville (one of my favorite world maps) looked at me very seriously and said, "now Sis, we can't get to you up there."  In his thoughts New York City was about as far as you could get from home.  I know now it wasn't.  Istanbul is beautiful.  They took us to lunch and then were kind enough to take us to a few interesting places to view the city.  

Breakfast before the market opened.

One of my favorite pictures.

Istanbul neighborhood.

We stopped and asked him for directions.  He was sitting in the street.

My lunch.  Plus some stewed lamb.  French fries are everywhere.

A Valentine's Day couple.

View of Istanbul.  This side is Asia. The other side of the bridge is Europe.

A little red mosque.
Our flight to Ankara left the next morning.  Ankara is different than Istanbul.  It is the government seat.  We got an e-mail from the US Embassy, which we register all of our trips with, that informed us potentially violent protests could occur that day.  I think over caution must be their policy, because we only saw one group gathered during our stay there and things were peacful.  Still,  I like being overly cautious.  We met with another radio partner there.  We only had one evening, Sunday morning church with them, and then about 2 hours to have lunch and climb up to a 7th century castle before rushing to the airport again.  They felt like old friends by the time we left though, and they are doing some amazing ministry and are using the Hope For The Heart resources in their churches and radio programs.

Driving into Ankara.

The restaurant where we had lunch.

She makes purses to sell near the castle.

View from the castle

From Ankara we came to Amman, Jordan.  We got to our rooms and in bed by about 2 am, and began a training day the next morning.  Not so fresh.  But, it was an interesting and fruitful day.  The Church in Amman has hard work to do, and they are doing it with such grace. There are refugees living in this country from just about every direction.  We had an opportunity to visit the baptist church in a northern city where many refugees are living.  During our trip there we drove through the valley where Jacob wrestled with God.  It's a real place. Not just a story from a far off land.  It's their history here.  It's our history.  We drove past a Palestinian refugee camp, and would our way through to the little church where people were coming to pick up heaters being donated to them.  I've heard several times in both Sri Lanka and now here about things being donated from Canadian churches.  These are people who fled their homes, with no documents, just the clothes on their backs.  They had jobs, families, homes.  Now it's all gone.  They no longer get their prescriptions they used to receive, they no longer cook their family meals and have celebrations.  They fled home and went into camps.  Then they fled the camps.  Then they found their way to the Church that is helping to provide their needs.  And then today we got to hug them and kiss them.  Once on the right cheek, and then a double kiss on the left cheek.  I held it together until the Pastor there let me go in the church and I saw the cross leaning against the wall.  When I survey, the wondrous cross... it was too much.  His love has no boundary.  What must He be thinking as these people suffer.  Weep with those who weep. Rejoice with those who rejoice.  I can't change things for them today, but I loved loving them today, and I know feeling loved changes me.  A deep to the bone reminder to be thankful.   

From my window trying to take a picture of where Jacob wrestled God in Genesis 32.  

The little church in northern Jordan.

A worn Arabic Bible.

Ancient ruins.  No time to explore them, but a few pictures to remember them.

I'm sitting in the lobby of our Days Inn hotel waiting for our friends to come get us for coffee and our final meeting before taking us to the airport.  I've smelled like cigarette for days.  If they do have anti smoking campaigns in Turkey or Jordan...they aren't working.  And there is no place off limits.  I'm in a haze of smoke right now.

I am ready to be home.  It's been a great trip, but honestly I kind of smell funny, my hair is greasy, and I've run out of clean clothes.  Not things I can't live with, but ready to be home for a few weeks.  We have been on a pretty tight schedule these last few days.  So I'm so grateful for the few hours we had to rest, the work that took place over coffee, car rides and short walks where I could take a few pictures.  I love capturing a moment and sharing this story.  We will be home sometime on the 19th.  I'm praying that jet lag is not as bad as last time, and I am thanking the Lord for how well this trip has gone.  I am also so thankful for everyone who prayed for me and for the purposes of this trip.  There were times that I truly felt the power of your prayers.  Times I was really aware of my need for your prayers and really relied on them.  Bob Goff posted another good status a few days went something like this:  While you are trying to figure out God's plan for your life, just go love everybody.  That's the plan.  I really like how that guy says stuff.  

I'm just now able to post this blog, as I sit back at my desk in Texas.  It has been a busy day of thinking through and rearranging schedules based on new things developed on this trip.  I'm tired and jet lagged, but I think not as bad as last time...probably because I was gearing up for the flu last time.  I don't really have it in me to go back and fix thoughts.  I hope it is coherent.  If not, I hope you at least enjoy the pictures. 

You May Also Like


  1. Just discovered your blog. Turkey sounds and looks amazing–as do the Days Inn lobbies. Thanks for all you are doing and for sharing some of it with us.