Last year CCL member Hannah Joy left London for Turkey, to work with Syrian refugees who have been forced to flee their homes. She sent us an update on what’s it’s been like.
It’s hard to believe that I left ChristChurch London nearly 9 months ago now. Moving quickly towards the 1 year mark, it seems natural to look back over the time I’ve spent here in Yalova, Turkey, and reflect on my journey.
Little did I know what God had in store for me. Little did I know that God was calling me to a place where He would force the resolute independence that I’d been steadily building up in the UK out of me and turn it into a firm knowledge that my own efforts are utterly nothing without Him. When working in and amongst such brokenness this fact becomes clearer and clearer.
Currently I regularly visit around 400 children and their families, distributing necessities such as food, medicine and blankets. However, my particular responsibility is providing the kids with fun and creative activities that brings joy, encourages play and also supports cognitive development.
One recent visit sticks in my mind. At the end of a long dirt track, on top of a high, exposed hill, is an old derelict building without windows or doors and with 2 hand-made tent-like constructions either side.
Living here are 6 families with around 20 children. For most of the winter our team struggled to reach them due to their location and knee-deep snow. They have no running water or electricity and most of the children have no shoes.
On this particular visit the harsh winter had subsided and the spring sun allowed us to gather outside their home where the kids and our team were able to play communally in the fresh air. As the bubbles floated around in the air and the kids squealed with delight I was reminded that even in the darkness of these children’s traumatised pasts; the desperation of their current situation, running around shoe-less and hungry, truly the God of all Comfort and the Father of Mercies is near to these little ones. The sweet fragrance and lightness of the Lord’s presence was clear in the enjoyment of these children. Like a good shepherd He longs to be close with His children and bring them back to Him.
When I am reminded that my efforts are nothing in the face of such extreme suffering, what a blessing it is to know that I carry the same spirit that raised Christ Jesus from the dead with me. It is He who brings joy to the broken-hearted. It is He who relieves heavy burdens. He gives new life. Let us give Him all the glory.
Photo by Charles Roffey via Flickr, used under Creative Commons: 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)