Fatia is 47 y/o mother of 11 who lives a Internally Displaced People Camp in Iraq. She married at age 14 and had her first baby at 15 y/o. Her 30 y/o son is a camp translator. She is a very sweet woman who loves people. She has suffered much loss in this war. Her beautiful home in SJ is damaged. Her husband was taken by IS and she doesn’t whether he is dead or alive. She does know he was in prison at one point and was tortured. An acquaintance was in prison at the same time and told her the soldiers would take her husband and hang him by his feet from the ceiling and let him drop to the floor. Now she wonders if he is still alive in prison somewhere.
I was overwhelmed by the volume of people one morning at the Ministry of Home Affairs in Delhi. MHA is where everyone comes to renew their visa; mostly Afghans, Persians, and others from various nations across Asia.
As I scanned the room for a place to sit, my eyes fell on a young woman wearing Western type clothes sitting beside her mother who was wearing a beautiful hijab. My heart leapt and I sat down beside them.
I was born and raised in a diverse city, so, theoretically, I never found it bewildering to have cross-cultural friendships. I didn’t truly experience the meaning of this until I lived abroad in East Africa for four months.
The study abroad program itself was vast and challenging, but the lifelong lessons and relationships I would take with me came specifically from in and around my homestay.
This week I went to a local playgroup with my son. I met a lady there who has just moved to the UK from Saudi Arabia. She didn’t speak much English and unfortunately I can’t speak Arabic, but we managed to ‘chat’ using Google Translate on our phones, as our boys played together.
I arrived in Nepal at the age of 26 with my husband and our new born baby boy. We joined the International church but, unlike the missionaries we met there, as an Army wife I had received no preparation for living in a third world country. It was a shock and I wrestled with God about why he permitted the poverty I saw everywhere around me. I was overwhelmed.
The first person to help me through all this was our Nepali cook.
Almost 8 months ago, God brought an Iraqi woman named Mais onto my path. Her rental multi family house had burned to the ground, and I had read seen it in the news. The following day, I was down at the hotel they were staying at introducing myself to her and her family. We began our friendship telling the stories of our lives and faiths at the local park. God was knitting a deeper friendship and trust began to build between us. Mais has told me several times that she knows that God used the tragedy of the fire to bring us together.