We were there to work; they were there for respite.
We enjoyed the scenery; they drank it in, mountain air so crisp and clean and refreshing. So different from the dusty, dirty streets where they lived.
One week. One act of service. One bond that will stretch to eternity.
I turn on the news to see those same dusty, dirty streets exploding in fire. Man against man. Emotions running high. Name-calling and gun-slinging and everyone just. so. sure. that their way is the right way.
I hear of churches being burned, their stained glass treasures broken and blackened. Ancient art turned to dust. Sacred pages destroyed, but not forgotten.
Worst of all, I learn of atrocities against these people who want nothing more than to worship in peace.
And I think of them.
Where are they? How are they? Are they still alive? Have they been exposed? Are they even still there?
Every day my heart and my prayers turn to them. And I wonder.
It was one week. One week of service five years ago. A few pleasant conversations. But the bond extends beyond the reasons of time and space, here and now. We know of an eternal friendship and the impact is not lost.
These are brothers and sisters, the persecuted. I wonder and I worry and I realize that this could be me, the one being hated, tried, persecuted for my faith.
My mind, it won't stop thinking, praying, wondering where my friends are.
Whatever the outcome, I know that what I have read is true: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
And I know that they are safe.