The sun beamed down hard as we stepped out of our 15-passenger van, stepping foot on the ground of a refugee camp. Men passed by in groups, perhaps completing their day’s work or just passing time. Young boys played soccer on the dirt, creating their own goals out of rocks and sticks. The scent of fresh bread filled the air, as mothers were probably cooking away in their humble homes for dinner.
As a group of 7, we managed not to gather a crowd- just a few stares, and a couple of smiles and waves as we turned left and walked deep into the row of caravans.
We continued further on our mission, trying to remember which house belonged to our friend Zahra.
Suddenly we heard a familiar laugh. We stopped and knocked on the door where it came from, and out came a child. The 2nd oldest of Zahra’s five children. We embraced and he immediately welcomed us into his small home, telling us his mom would be returning shortly. We sat close together on flat mats in one of the two rooms that made this tiny place a home for 6.
Zahra arrived in no time, with a pained smile on her face as she greeted us. Defeat and hopelessness were evident in her face. We sat with her and caught up for some time, as the team got to know her story (see “Zahra’s story” blog).
One of our friends began to ask Zahra when was the last time she felt happy. She couldn’t remember. She then asked if she could wash her feet, as a way to show her God’s love. As she washed Zahra’s feet, and we began to pray for her, our friend began to weep quietly. Zahra was caught by surprise, and couldn’t believe that someone would weep for her. She joined in sobbing uncontrollably.
It was as if all her pain and sorrow was released in that moment, and shared. She wasn’t alone.
After a few minutes, our friend wiped her face, looked deeply into Zahra’s eyes, and began telling her about Jesus. That His love causes us to cry with the broken-hearted. That He created every human heart to know Him and be known by Him. That He loved the world so much, he sent His own Son to die, paying the ultimate sacrifice for our sins- so we could be with Him for eternity. She asked Zahra if she wanted to know this love, to receive God’s gift of salvation.
And soon enough, through translation of our Muslim friend, Zahra asked for Jesus to enter in her heart.
God’s presence filled this caravan, as we simply showed up and loved on Zahra and her family. Our translator, who is a devout Muslim, began to ask questions about Jesus and said he never felt something like this before. We told him it was the work of the Holy Spirit.
The love of Jesus poured out, in this moment, and marked all of our hearts. We left completely undone by the burning desire of God’s love for the lost. That He is always near and ever-present. He's meeting people in their utter despair, and replacing their grief with a newfound, everlasting hope. He is constantly moving and drawing the hearts of the broken into His love!!!