Processing a Prison

“I miss my dad.” I said to him.

He responded, “I miss my dad, mom, sister and brother who were all killed by the war.”

I extended my hand to him saying, “You have a sister in me.”

He pulled me into a hug and kissed my forehead, “You will always be my sister.”

 

I remember that day so vividly; it was the day my heart truly started to ache for the fact that I will never be able to actually change the circumstances that these refugees live in. It physically hurts my heart when I recount all that I have been exposed to while working in the refugee camp with these broken people. They have endured it all; they have lost everything for the sake of gaining their lives. I have been home just a few days, but in this time I can’t seem to gather the words when people ask me about how it was there. I feel like I have lost all hope, but gained hope at the same time. I became angry at God, while at the same time trusting that He has a sovereign plan for every person there. I felt as though my heart kept breaking and breaking over and over again with each day, but also felt like Christ was healing it in the same moments.

I can’t explain to you how I feel about working there. I can’t explain the emotions or the interactions. I can’t explain a single thing- because with each explanation I question that feeling for the opposite. I know my mind is a complete mess, and trying to process all of it on top of that exhausts me, but I trust in the faithful Hand that guides me through every season, even if I can’t tell if that season was in the mountains or the valley.

With every tug on my heart tears are being held back. I can’t stop thinking about every interaction, every handshake, every smile. There were days when I was yelled at for something I couldn’t control behind the mouth of misdirected anger- but I took it because I knew they needed to feel that out loud. When the government didn’t want to listen to their pleas, I was there to hear it for them. When their complaining couldn’t seem to find an end, I never tried to stop them. When they wanted to cry for how they were being mistreated, but couldn’t because their culture questions their masculinity with crying, I was there to comfort them. When the panic attacks kept them up all night with thoughts of their pain, I was there with compassion towards them.

 

“They make sure to bring me a plate of food every time they cook.” I said laughing, with a plate piled up with rice and tofu because they knew I was vegetarian.

“That’s because you bring a positive light into this camp.” He told me.

 

In that moment on my last day there, the Lord revealed to me that He had been doing a work in me the entire time. Although I still can’t explain my feelings or truly tell you about my time there, I lost all thoughts of uselessness in that one sentence. When I thought I was bringing nothing to the table, the Lord was using this broken vessel to be a light to any person I came into contact with.

Does that mean I have all my time there compiled into an understanding? Well, no. But that’s okay because the Lord is always faithful to reveal Himself to us in His own time. This I know; this I trust.

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