18 July 2016

It's tough out here

Post-haircut shot. Mission life
is glamorous.
From time to time, the letters from TMFKATB have brought me to tears. Usually it's happened when he's shared an experience that was very similar to something I encountered when I served thirty-plus years ago. I could easily identify with his emotions and so mine were brought close to the surface. Today's letter brought me to tears smack in the middle of the ShopRite. Trust me when I tell you the only time it is justified to cry in that place is when you recognize just how much more we pay for food stuffs here in the 'Stan. It would drive the hardest of souls to tears.  But it wasn't the ridiculous prices that broke me down today, it truly was one of the best letters we've gotten in his nearly two years of service.

The bulk of his letter related the story of the miraculous events that led to the baptism of a Venezuelan family of five. His joy in their happiness and his recognition that he has been but an instrument in God's hands is what sent me into a spasm of tears. He has grown so much during these past two years. It's been amazing to watch.

It was a joyous letter but also indicative of that growth I mentioned. At the end of an exchange with me, he wrote:

A recent convert here that I was really close to got arrested and is getting deported this week. He called from jail and asked us to pray for him. His wife is a mess. It was weird for us twenty year olds to comfort them. It's tough out here. Even in America, people suffer.

He's right. It is tough out here and people do suffer here. Yet people continue to come here because as bad as it may be for them, it is far better than what they face in their home countries. The family that TMFKATB and his companion found so much joy in fled Venezuela just a few weeks ago because there is opportunity here.

It may be tough here, but there is hope here. There is opportunity here. There are people that care here. Sometimes they are twenty year olds who may not know exactly what to say but they find a way to bring comfort. There are lots of good people in this country of all stripes who are looking to make it a little less tough. And that is a good thing.

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