We Are Vessels: A REACH Update
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” 2 Corinthians 4:7
During our day off last week, we had the opportunity to hike to the ancient Roman aqueducts in the town of Moria. Two thousand years ago these towers and vessels were created for one purpose, to carry potable water from the center of the Island to the cities along the coast. This is one of the reasons the Roman Empire flourished. They knew the importance of transporting large amounts of water from miles away to bring life to their citizens. The aqueducts were not life, but they carried life. Today these aqueducts serve no purpose other than being a tourist attraction. Large sections have already broken off and fallen to the ground showing that this structure is unable to carry water from point A to point B. No one took the time to repair them as they deteriorated. Today they are not carriers of life.
During our time in Moria (the refugee camp two kilometers away from the aqueducts), our team was given the privilege by God to carry “water” to the residents of the camp. Let me repeat that; God chose us to carry life into this world! How awesome is that? From the day I was conceived, he began forming me and preparing me for this task. I am a vessel for God’s perfect love! You are a vessel for God’s perfect love! But our vessels are weak and fragile. Just as the aqueducts are susceptible to the second law of thermodynamics, so are we. They continually deteriorate unless someone is putting energy back into them and repairing them. The erosion, earthquakes, and vandals will slowly rip apart the aqueducts until they can no longer carry life.
I’ve been continually reminded of John 15. Jesus is the vine, we are the branches. We can only bear fruit if we are connected to him. If we are disconnected we will just wither away and be tossed on the fire. It is crucial for us to be in a daily relationship with our creator… otherwise, entropy takes over. Do not allow busyness to distract you from repair, even if you are busy “carrying water.” When people hurt you, you lose your job, your health is in decline, or you lose a loved one, do not allow these earthquakes to overtake you, but turn to him who restores so that you can carry water again.
This past month has been an amazing experience for our team while working at the refugee camp. Even though I do not speak French, Arabic, Farsi, or Urdu, God’s love in us is understood by all who are willing to listen. While working at camp I met an amazing new believer from the Congo named Dominic. His English is just as good as my French (close to none). Even though we are unable to speak to each other, we were able to show pictures of our families and show each other where we are from. I also understood that he became a follower of Christ just a few weeks ago. He just received a French Bible and is carrying it around everywhere always asking the French-speaking Christians to explain things like “being born a second time”. It is kind of funny seeing him ask the same question that Nicodemus asked Jesus thousands of years ago, but it shows that God’s word is the same today as it was yesterday. Even though we could not communicate verbally, we greeted each other every day with a smile and a hug, and then just sat with each other for over an hour sharing food and laughs. Food also breaks communication barriers.
I’ve also become close friends with a man from Pakistan who I will call “Z.” Z is not a follower, but his English was decent and we could talk. I listened to his story of how he is fleeing Pakistan, leaving his wife behind so that he can create a better life for them in the future. I could see the sadness on his face as he showed me pictures of his wife and his parents. We also had a lot of fun just sitting in the cold together sharing stories, food, and chai.
There was another man from Syria who I will call “R.” R’s English was very good, but we hardly saw each other since he lived in a different part of the camp than where I worked. R loves to be sarcastic, so anytime we greeted each other he would always say something like “Hello Mushkila” (Mushkila means “no good” or “problem” in Arabic). He would then go on and tell me how I am no good and how I should go back to America (while he was smiling and using an obvious tone of sarcasm). After two minutes of greeting each other with sarcastic insults, we would then spend another ten minutes just chatting about random stuff. The most touching moment for me was on our last day at camp when I told R that I will be leaving. His face immediately went from overjoyed to despair. I was confused because we barely knew each other and his sadness made it look like he was losing his best friend. He then said, “why do you guys always have to leave, why can’t you stay?” At this moment I about broke down into tears. He grabbed me and gave me a huge hug, not wanting to let go. That experience was all I could think of during the drive back to the apartment. R is experiencing love from the people of the organization we worked with – that he does not experience anywhere else – and he knows it. He craves it. He needs it. I wish I had met him earlier and had more time to be a vessel of God’s love to him. I think about him daily and trust that God will draw him into his love. I plead with God often that one day R will be an heir to God’s kingdom.
My strength is not sitting down with people and talking with them one-on-one, but God used me in my weakness and showed me that it is not what I do, but it is what he does through me!
Pray for safety and a good transition as this team leaves Moria and moves to another area of outreach. Pray that this team would continue to return to their creator and sustainer so they can bring the life of his Kingdom to this region.
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