Student Missions Blog

Middle East: Learning lessons

If there is one thing I learned recently, it is the importance of flexibility. 

I agreed to join a friend of mine for a visit with one of his new acquaintances and, in addition, his acquaintance’s friend. Originally, we were told he lived in a section of our rather large city, near the outskirts. However, upon learning where he wanted to meet, which was in a completely different part of the city, we began to grow skeptical.

middle east map200After meeting him and boarding a microbus with our new friend, we ended up in a village outside the city. We grew even more skeptical and exchanged several curious glances. After all, it was now dark outside, and we were an hour’s distance from where we thought we were traveling.  Our new friend repeatedly assured us we were close to our destination, so we continued on.

We walked across a deceptively long bridge above sections of the river for more than 20 minutes and wound up in another village. There we met our acquaintance’s lifelong friend. My American friend and I quietly discussed whether we should continue as we headed on foot further outside the village at the behest of our new friends. We looked at each other, laughed, and said, “Why not?”

Consequently, we trekked further down the road with the river alongside us. After another 20 minutes, we ended up on the outskirts of the village and arrived at our destination. It was a small tea shack with improvised seating atop a concrete floodgate protruding out into the river.

As we looked out onto the portrait-like landscape that held the moon, a full and brilliant orange, above the river, then we understood why they insisted we travel so far. Had they been dishonest about our true destination? Yes, but our journey was rewarded with the view and, more importantly, the conversation that took place along this historic river.

Opening with the story of Moses, fitting for the location, we shared the great story of our heavenly Father’s love with our new friends for over an hour. Discourse and dialogue continued kindly as we sipped tea and stared at the river.  Eventually, we had to part ways, as it was late, and we were much further from the city than we intended to be out.

But we each parted with a new understanding—our new friends, with an understanding of the Good News, and myself, with the lesson that flexibility and trust in God will take you much farther than you can ever travel on your own, to far better places, with far better endings.

J.R. is a Texas student serving in the Middle East with Go Now Missions.

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