Every time I come home from a trip, I procrastinate on writing my updates — not because I don’t want to share what’s happening, but because it forces me to revisit. I have to sit down and process the good, the bad and the ugly. Often times this is painful, but The Lord always uses it to bring about some healing.
After returning from Vietnam, I went to dinner with my mom, Miss Joy, who may have a heart attack one day because more than anyone — other than my wife AC — she sees me at my worst. At dinner she began to probe me about the trip. I hate that. While I tried to brush it off, I could feel my insides bubbling and then it hit me. The emotions began to flow. I found myself crying in the middle of the restaurant and the whole way home. I began asking God all the hard questions that I felt entitled to have answered: “Why is there so much suffering in the world? How can you truly be a good God?” and the hardest one for me, “Why don’t I feel like you love me?”
The next thing I know, I am on a plane headed to another region of the world that has been devastated by war and persecution, but this time I would have no guide. The team and I landed in the Middle East at 3 a.m. No one was at the airport to pick us up. There was no one to call, and I had no idea what to do. We had no idea how we would get where we needed to go, but we kept moving.
The Lord never failed us. Honestly it probably couldn’t have gone smoother.
Ephesians 6:12 talks about our struggle not being against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, powers and rulers of darkness. That may sound spooky and weird, but come with me some time and sit with the man who has been shot by ISIS. Visit the thirteen-year-old girls who were sold into sex trafficking and forced to be with a different man every week for three years. Watch the footage on their phones of the destruction during the war. Listen to them tell stories about running away from their homes and being separated from their families, not knowing if or when they’ll be able to return or reunite. The enemy continually works to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).
Perhaps now you may be able to imagine the hard questions I had for God. I’m unsure what to say at this point. In one way I feel like I could type forever, but at the same time, I have no words. I typically come home from a trip and have a solid weeping session. But this time it’s almost too hard to cry. It may sound like God didn’t do amazing things. He did.
The leader of the camp agreed to let a team of ours stay with them this January in the refugee camp. We will likely be the first Westerners to ever have this opportunity. He also invited me to his homeland when they are able to return which is a huge deal in their culture.
I met a man who may be able to lead us into other regions in the Middle East — places we have wanted to go to but are not easily accessible.
We were able to deliver food relief and kerosene fuel for heat, as well as clothing items, toys and sweets for the kids. We shared the Gospel, prayed for people, developed amazing contacts, and made super awesome friends.
I sit with these people listening to their stories, while they pick cucumbers from their garden and bring me tea. They are just so happy that we even came to see them. But the truth is I’m just sad. I feel so broken. A man came to me one day and thanked us for helping the forty-seven families. Then he asked if we could help twenty more. He took us to visit some of them. To be completely honest, it’s already a financial struggle to care for the forty-seven.
I have nothing. I watched a hungry child get hungrier as her mother handed me one of their last cucumbers. All I could think was, “What in the world I can do?” Crickets. As I said I have nothing with me to give. I know we all have questions for God. As you can tell, I sure do. Clearly I don’t have the answers. However, I am left with one thing.
He has to be the answer. Without Him there is no hope. Without Him there is no freedom from the destruction of the world. We cannot fix all the world’s problems. Only Jesus can. I see why people long for His return. These moments make my heart long for that day, too.
JAKE FULLER | FIELD COORDINATOR
Jake never thought he would follow in his father's footsteps, but after stepping in to lead an emergency relief trip to the Nuba Mountains last fall, he knew God was leading him into missions. After graduating from Virginia Tech with a degree in Agricultural Science and a minor in Social Change and Leadership this past May, Jake accepted a full-time position as a Field Coordinator. When he's not leading trips or coordinating projects, you can find Jake working on the family farm or hanging out with his wife A.C.