In August I had a conversation. In September I had a heart change. In October I had an encounter. For months I prayed. In April I had an invitation. In May I had tea.
Who knew the fire that a cup of tea could light? Who knew the one it could put out?
With just a small cup of tea, passion was birthed, burden was felt, and fear was quenched. But the real sweetness did not come from the four scoops of sugar that were heaped into the tiny glass; in fact it did not come from the tea at all. It came from the moment, the moment when friendship was somehow created from the merging of a world of privilege and safety with that of total uncertainty and unimaginable fear.
In a single moment, friendship changed my story.
They call them the nation of the displaced. The stateless. They are spoken of in generalizations as if they are not mothers, brothers, friends, people. They have become the issue that needs an answer instead of the sister who needs a friend. Debates, so hot they could boil water…it’s a shame, if only they could make tea.
It’s truly amazing the sharing of tea. It’s the life stories, games of tag, wedding photos, kickball matches, bracelet making, hair braiding, song singing, hopes prayed, tea drinking, and eggplant eating moments. It’s sharing life around a glass of tea.
Since I left that tea drinking culture, I have ached for those moments. Oh to sit and have tea again. Because there is power in the sharing of life and struggle. There is deep kinship created in just a few moments. There is conversation that has the power to shape eternity. I long for those moments. I long for a displaced people to know the place of belonging. I refuse to be quiet about those moments because eternity rests in moments of shared tea.
The needs are great, but the greatest need can only be met in the place of shared tea, in the place of friendship. The greatest need is that of love and support and conversation. The greatest need is to learn to live again.
My heart and mind has been stuck around the teacup since last May and now it’s time to return. I have the deep honor and opportunity to go have tea again. This time in a different city, with different tea drinkers, from different nations, with the same expectation. To go, to love, and to drink tea.
This June I will be moving to spend a year in Turkey. I have the honor of joining an amazing team and loving a city that has a timeless beauty aging back to Acts 13. I will again have tea with the displaced and learn to share life with them. I hope to be able to partner with efforts to bless the refugees in the area and use my experiences and passion to broaden the work that is being done already.
Through becoming a student of language and culture, I am thrilled to start a new adventure. One that undoubtedly will create spaces, like the moment over shared tea, that will shape eternities and change lives, mine simply being the first.
Come and join this journey. If you would like to sow into this year just click the donate button on the right. You can even become a monthly partner but making your gift reoccurring. Let’s watch and see how a cup of tea can change our lives, because I promise yours will never be the same.
Feel free to email me with more questions about becoming a partner or more details about my plans. (firstname.lastname@example.org)