Within the last couple years, teams of short-term Rock Ambassadors have traveled to the Middle East to bring hope to the marginalized, sick, starving, desperate, exiled, and dying. Partnering with other reputable NGOs, teams raised funds to purchase food boxes, packaged the boxes overseas, and hand-delivered them to families.
Perhaps the most important part of their service was not to bring the food itself, though greatly needed, but it was to simply sit with refugees and listen to their stories. In many cases, that simple act restored a sense of dignity within many families that were experiencing utter hopelessness, in every sense of the word. Enough rice and oil, and a month's worth of food was delivered, as was the message, you have not been forgotten, your life has value, and you will be remembered in prayer. Below is an excerpt from one Rock Ambassador's journal during a stay abroad.
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I remember seeing him from a distance. As we were getting out of the vehicle I could see both of his hands were completely crippled; you could see the effects of prolonged stress and anxiety in the way he carried himself and in the expression of his face. This man had suffered and his wife looked so burdened. She was corralling two young children inside while holding a baby that looked exceptionally ill. I had never really seen a baby in this kind of condition before.
We walked into their humble quarters, sat on the ground with them and smiled when appropriate, asking them to share their story with us, to which they gratefully disclosed. The father had been tortured in his homeland for a year. There were deep scars up and down his forearms and ankles from months of electric shock. He had survived, but his hands no longer worked. Their 1-year-old baby was born with a hole in her heart. Her kidneys were failing, literally right there in front of us. You could actually see her heart racing and thumping through her chest. Her head was swollen. She was in pain. The end was near for her and on top of it, they were out of food. Mom too was 8 months pregnant, though barely showing.
Learning more of the desperation of their situation, I thought to myself—How could we not have come? How could we not have sat with them and helped carry the burden, even if for a moment.
We brought to them what we could, something tangible and real; it was enough food to alleviate a month's worth of worry along with many smiles and hugs and cultural kisses on behalf of the Light of the World. We wanted them to know that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had not forgotten them and that He had compassion on them and considered their lives to be of great value. With permission, we prayed for their baby girl, who would die just 6 hours later.
After hearing of their loss, we were able to revisit this family 2 days later. I remember the crippled father said something amazing. Out of his mouth came, “God is faithful.” It just about floored me, knowing his story; he was experiencing real hope and supernatural comfort amidst the most prolonged horrific circumstances I had ever heard firsthand. I really believe God sent us to this family to confirm His love at a very desperate hour!
Oh how terrible the cross of Christ - the sins of the whole world upon His shoulders, the horrors of war and broken hearts of every human soul He had ever created. What He must have known in those moments of love as death crept closer and closer to His failing body. Only a god, Our God, could carry what He carried and defeat what He defeated. And yet, even as I pen these words, I know his victory has triumphed over the darkness! He is our hope, He is our joy, He is our Light, and He is why we go to those who have no hope, and no joy – to shine what God has been so gracious enough to give with His very life.
It doesn’t matter how dark the darkness is, the Light always prevails; if God calls us and sends us to be an ambassador of His love, we must go. There is no fear in love because perfect love casts out all fear.