The air was dusty. Before I even stepped out of the Land Rover I could feel the sand in my shoes and in my clothes. It was dry, just like the rest of the country. In a place where turmoil had reared it's ugly head for so long, it seemed as if the ground had begun to mimic the ways of it's people.
My heart was in my chest. Partly because there were men surrounding us with AK-47s and partly because the people we were visiting were so beautiful, and yet so lost. As our guards ushered us into the first camp we began to separate. I, and my translator kicked the dust around as we slowly shifted in and out of the tents. There was a man lying in a tent, bones sticking out of his dark skin. He was too weak to stand, and probably wouldn't make it past the end of the week.
My colleagues wanted me to take a photo, I figured it was better to move on and lift up a silent prayer. I wasn't there to get a Nat Geo image, I was there to listen. To hear the cry of the people and understand, if even for just a second, a glimpse into their hearts. I wanted to try and open up my calloused heart just long enough to cry with them and love them. But it was already time to go. Anyplace longer than 30 minutes was too long. We had to watch our steps carefully, and trust no one.
As a mom rushed up to me with her baby boy I began to feel my heart explode. The child was sick, his skin was rotting off and his mom just looked at me and begin repeating something. My translator tried to explain but it was if time stopped. Sound bounced off my ears and all I could do was cry out to my God and pray for this little sweet child. A child born into chaos, war, famine, and a place void of true love. I choked back the tears as I touch his little hand. Our guards ushered us out as quickly as they ushered us in.
What now I thought? What could I possibly ever do to help? These questions have a way of keeping me up at night. Wondering, praying, crying, wanting to know why I am not doing more. But for now I have to play my part. I have to play the part God has given me for this moment. So if that means sitting in an office developing ways for our in-country partners to be more effective, then so be it. Because it's one step at a time. As God opens a door, I must be faithful to follow.