Battling Through

There is so much to learn from weak moments such as these: breaking your tooth in celebration, seeing your wife almost get hit by a car, feeling out of control, feeling offended by teammates, having to apologize for being offensive, etc.  Feeling out of control through being away from “home” commonly brings feelings of helplessness.  But everywhere I go while I'm alive is foreign territory – Heaven is my home.  In Turkey “yabancı” means “foreigner”.  And it’s very clear that I’m a yabancı.  As I’m a foreigner here, I’m being exposed to new things.  Some things bring on feelings of adventure and growth; other things bring on feelings of invalidation, and helplessness.  I go around either by myself or with my wife to restaurants, grocery stores, or any place I need to be to complete a task.  I’ve met a guy named Ersin who owns a Pide (Turkish pizza) restaurant.  He was so interested in me that he literally taught me how to eat Pide…by feeding it to me with his hands.  Well he tried but I took it from his hand.  I also met a guy named Tolga on the bus that I wanted to recruit to play Football.  Although he never played it or knew anything about it, he’s come out to our practices to learn and is really good.  On the other hand, I’ve walked to the locker room after horrible practices, felt like the guys could’ve tried harder, then have had to deal with the feelings of seeing them smoke cigarettes before they drove home. 

In those moments I’ve either wanted to leave Turkey or tell some of them how stupid they are for doing the things they do. Satan is a very subtle enemy.  I know the battle isn’t me literally carrying a sword in a 300 or Lord of the Rings-esque type of scenario.  This is a spiritual thing, very much so.  In the flesh, I’m just a foreigner who is here and living my life – spiritually, I’m facing battles everyday.  I’ve gotten down on myself for not knowing the language and being able to share the gospel, not praying enough, not taking advantage of people coming up to me enough and getting upset with Turks like I mentioned above. 

Jesus has called my wife and I here for a purpose and sometimes it feels like this opportunity is going to waste.  But He wants to walk with both of us and He wants to bring everyone in this city to Him.  He is already victorious.  He’s called us into His plan.  I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.  press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  I’ll talk about what this means to me in my next post.