Thursday November 22, 2018
Today we spent Turkey Day in Turkey. Istanbul, Turkey that is. I have to admit that when we booked our flights we were a little leery of flying Turkish Air and being in Turkey. It didn’t help that everyone we talked to about it worriedly warned us to be safe. I think anytime we step outside of our comfort zones there is a tendency to be apprehensive. I remember feeling that same feeling much more acutely the night before we flew to Ethiopia the first time. It’s the fear of the unknown and the unfamiliar, I think. Now, I welcome the new experience and the way I see it, it's better to take the risk than to miss out on what God has planned. And Turkey did not disappoint. We landed in one of the most modern airports we’ve ever been to. Again, we were struck by the world travelers that convened at each gate. We exchanged US bills for Lira and did what any good American would do…….we grabbed coffee and muffins from Starbucks (way to break out and be adventurous).
As we approached our gate, the familiar sound of Amharic could be heard as we joined our fellow passengers, most of whom were unmistakably Ethiopian. As we waited for our flight, I did a cram session of Amharic greetings and phrases. I’m always in awe of the many languages that our friends in Ethiopia speak. Maybe someday I’ll spend an extended amount of time in Ethiopia so that I can pick up more of the language.
As we boarded, Nick was seated next to a lovely lady from Holland. She was on her way to take a 30 day tour of Ethiopia. How amazing is that? Upon meeting us the conversation quickly went to the sad state of American politics and how the world perceives America, our leaders and our people. It’s so interesting to hear other people’s perspectives. She relayed that Americans are thought to be very narrow minded, putting “America first” and believing that America is all there is in the world. She said that their evening news is filled with the events of American politics, and none of it is very flattering. She also admitted to not being very religious. Then she spoke of the Christians that she knew, her own neighbors, who claimed to love Jesus, but did not welcome in the stranger or the needy or the person that was different from them and how confusing that was. And it is. How many times do we as Christians send conflicting messages through our actions and our words?
The conversation was pleasant, she asked tons of questions and really tried to understand American culture and the current political state and how divided everything is. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. How it’s either Democrat or Republican and what a cat fight it all is right now. She suggested that we all learn to compromise and work together, listen a little more and talk a little less. Otherwise, we lose our democracy all together. It makes sense to me.
Our view as we left Turkey
So, on this Thanksgiving Day let’s remember:
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.