In Lent of 2011, when we began to dream and scheme about what God was asking us to do for the Kingdom, He gave us a single scripture verse:
“Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out.” – Numbers 9:21b
The idea for us being that God was simply asking us to follow Him wherever He would lead, and stay for however long He asked us to stay. The passage continues:
“Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. At the LORD’s command they encamped, and at the LORD’s command they set out.” – Numbers 9:22-23a
Up until this point, the “Cloud” has stayed for short periods of time over specific places (or people):
- Azerbaijan for three months
- Belize for one week
- Estonia for ten days
- Memphis for one week
- Mexico for ten days
- Turkey for two months, three months, three months, and one week (in that order)
So, when we began to plan for this trip, we were expecting a similar type of trip. Yet, as we dug further into the planning, and then arrived back in Turkey, we knew that the cloud was going to be here much longer.
Our heart is for the workers across Central Asia. In many of these countries, Turkish (or a related language) is spoken or understood. Airfare from Turkey to these nations is quite reasonable, and airfare for roundtrip tickets from here to the USA is about half the price as paying for roundtrip tickets from the USA to Turkey. Living in the land, speaking the language, and understanding the struggles and stresses of cross-cultural life are important to things for us to be accepted by other workers. And, until we’re accepted and trusted, our desire to serve them will not be as welcomed.
So, our photo of the week illustrates our commitment to setting up the camp for a longer period of time. After several weeks of gathering documents, having them translated and notarized, buying insurance, meeting with residency officials, and a visit from the immigration police, we are officially residents of this amazing country!