Being a stranger in a foreign land can be hard. There are different languages, currencies, social norms, transit systems… and the list goes on. It’s been one week since I came to Northern Cyprus and I already feel that I could write a book with everything I’ve experienced. But my biggest surprise has been how much these strangers have welcomed me into their beautiful country. Being a Christian in a Muslim country is not at all what I expected!
On Tuesday, we stepped off the bus and into a rainstorm. A man at the butcher shop called us over and seated us inside his shop just so we could escape the rain. There we met a Russian and a Turk who quickly became our friends as we shared stories together.
Later that day, we were waiting for our contact when it started to rain again (yes, it rains a lot here!). While we waited, several cars pulled over to see if we needed help. One lady even started moving her groceries over in the back seat so we could catch a ride with her. Our contact arrived within a few minutes and we didn’t end up needing any help. But we were amazed by how many offers we received.
The next day our outreach team split into three groups to go and build friendships with locals. My small group finished before the others and returned to the apartment early. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a key to get in. But the man from across the hall saw us sitting in the stairwell and invited us into his mother’s apartment so she could take care of us.
“It’s cold outside,” the old lady said, ushering us to her fire place. In broken English, she told us that she was from Turkey and had three sons. She even pulled out a picture album to show us her son’s wedding. While we flipped through the book, she baked in the kitchen and soon we were feasting on Turkish coffee cake!
It’s only been one week. But already, I’m learning so much! I’m learning that kindness speaks louder than words. I’m discovering hospitality blows away cultural barriers. And I’m all the more convinced that we really can do what Jesus said — Go into all all the world! Neither language, nor culture, nor any other thing, can keep us from sharing the love of God.
by Brooklin on DTS Outreach in Northern Cyprus.
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