I want to take you back a few years in my life… And share a few flashbacks with you.
Three years ago:
I remember eagerly sitting in a conference room waiting to hear speakers from all around the world. This man from Burkina Fasso finally came up and took center stage and it was here he began to tell of his experiences while in Africa. His tales were amazing and told of this desperate desire the people had and this abundant harvest they experienced in Africa. I remember feeling awe over all God had provided for him and the organization he worked with.
This man was retiring though and wasn’t going back…. And in closing he told one last story.
“I went off into the bush and found a remote village. I had a translator in the village, but it was still very difficult to talk to the people. I did what I could to share with them a little bit of the man Christ and the Good News. The village people were just amazed and wanted to know so much more, but I wasn’t able to stay.
The translator of the village accompanied me to the outskirts of his village and it was there the man began to question me about my return. I looked at him and he looked at me… and it was there he said ‘You’re coming back, right?’ But I stayed silent, because I knew I wouldn’t get a chance to come back. The man said again ‘You’re coming back, sir! You are coming back, right?’ And it was there I continued to remain silent. For the third time the man looked me in the eyes and said ‘When are you coming back? You don’t understand, we will never hear of this Good News unless you come back again! You must come back!”
This man from Burkina told all of us restless teenagers this story and I remember feeling so broken hearted for these village people who have such a desire and need to hear and yet have no one to go. I wanted to go.
I knew and decided right then in my heart that I wanted to go to a place with a desperate need like this man described.
Flash back to last year and here I am in the middle of this spiritually dark country and it’s not what I expected to be. There is a harvest, that’s ready, but the harvesters are so, so few.
I clearly remember one day in particular: a day where we went and saw this city that had been completely devastated by war.
Now… Trying to give you just a little foundation for the story here… When I think of the word evil? I think of this city. I think of photos lining the museum wall, of dead children lying in the streets and the photos of trucks with their beds piled full of bodies… I think of the stories my students and the people of this city where families were ripped apart and destroyed…. I also vividly remember taking my hand and running it along the prison walls and feeling the etching of tortured men and women. This city’s history is my personal definition of evil and darkness.
This day was absolutely emotionally draining. It probably is number one on my list of “worst days ever” just because I couldn’t even take it all in…
On this day, after touring this war-torn city we came back to our own town.
To unwind, I went to the store and picked up some much needed groceries just trying to get my mind off of things, but once I finished shopping it was dusk and time to go home. It was getting too dark to be alone as a woman. To quicken the journey home, I took a taxi that night…
And pausing for a second here in this story… You don’t speak to the men as a general rule and if for some reason the men speak you, you don’t understand for it is in broken English and regardless you don’t respond.
I recall glancing up into the rear view mirror and the man was looking me straight in the eyes. And he looks at me and after everything I had seen and heard that day… After seeing darkness, and evil, and utter devastation… He looks at me and with perfect English tells me
“My people have no hope.”
We pull into my apartment’s parking spot and quietly here he continued in this perfect English…
“My country, my city, my people, my family, no one! We all have no hope.”
It was time to get out. I remember stepping out of the car and wanting so badly to say some words to comfort him… But none came to mind. I paid him and left…
Trudging up the stairs, I made my way to my room… I fell on my bed and tried to think of things I could have told this taxi man. Words of comfort, hope, really anything… What could I have done differently?! But I had nothing. What do you say to a man who has nothing to live for a man who is devastated and living in hopelessness?
I mean, I had been here in the country and had seen the damage. It really wasn’t only this man. In this country my own eyes saw the devastation and the darkness…. The evil. I myself and feeling no hope and feeling so upset about the ever-present darkness.
Here on my little twin bed I spoke out-loud to God.
“What do you expect me to do!?”
It was there I heard a small and still whisper “You have hope.”
“Wait, no, no, no! I have nothing to offer them!”
And again, that small voice spoke and said “You’re right, Megan. YOU have nothing to offer them, but I do. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life… My blood is for them and I offer them Life and Life abundantly.”
I knew God spoke to me there and for that, I was so excited… It was true! I had hope and I could share that hope!
It was then I also realized I was soon leaving the country and I would no longer be able to share the hope and life I had been given in His blood. Not only was I leaving, but also I was going back to a life of “easiness”, a life of mundane schoolwork, and a “Christian bubble” to get comfortable in.
Flash forward and come back to Tonight:
I was thinking about the Berkina Man and the story “You’re going to come back, right!?” And in my mind I was thinking “I just want to go somewhere like that, where the people are so desperate!” It was there, I believe God reminded me of that hopeless taxi man. There was a need, a desperate need… It just looked different than the Burkina story.
“I have no hope…”
Those words still ring in my ears…
I don’t know where life after this summer will take me… A position working in a church, a job where I can work and interact with refugees… etc… But regardless of where, I want you all to know that I have a desire to spread hope and I want to go out to a harvest and work in the fields. Honestly though, I truly desire to return back to that dark nation I spend my last summer in, but not sure if it is where He has me. I ask that you would continue to pray for direction of where to go next and for open doors for me to walk through in obedience. Also please pray that if this nation is where I need to be, that God would work out the details.
Thanks for reading! I know it was a long one.