Saturday, March 8, 2014

Grieving with Our Countries

I don't know how many of you have seen this video by Save the Children circulating Facebook and Twitter this week. It shows what life would be like for British children if war came to the U.K. The purpose is to help Westerners identify with what is happening to children in Syria and other conflict zones.

The video struck a chord with me because I know so many adults in "our country", El Salvador, that lived through the trauma of war as children. I know that many of you are serving in countries that are currently conflict zones, or have been in recent times.

In El Salvador, everyone my age grew up during the civil war. They lived through terrifying home invasions, and the terror of having relatives kidnapped. They also remember seeing dead bodies on the side of the road, and hearing the roar of helicopters over their heads as they fled their homes.

My childhood was so different. I didn't have a care in the world and the concept of war was something relegated to an occasional evening news report. War never came to my doorstep.

But now here I am in a country that still lives with the trauma and fear of over a decade of civil war. The legacy echoes down to the many issues that we deal with in our street ministry. One generation affects the next as wounds continue to bleed, and scars have not yet healed.

And I grieve with my country. As you grieve with yours.

When we are called somewhere as a missionary, we enter into the story of a people that we may have never even known before. Their dreams become our dreams, and we take on their pain as we work so desperately to bring some relief for it. We enter into the grieving process with them when their losses become ours, and we celebrate with them in their moments of joy.

We find ourselves awake long hours into the night crying out on behalf of the people we love, and we waver in our faith when we don't understand what God is doing. We strive, and we fail, and we persevere, and we press on to see God's Kingdom come in some small way in these places that are now part of who we are.

And God hears our cries.

He uses us, and He grows us, and we have the privilege and the joy and the seemingly impossible task of being the ones He chooses. And we thank Him, and and we ask Him why, and we trust Him to take care of our countries.

Today I am in prayer for my country, El Salvador, as we go into an election weekend. A lot is at stake and emotions are high. And I pray for your countries around the world, and for your hearts as they are breaking.

How can we be praying for each other and the countries we serve this week? 


  1. How did you know what to write for me, right now?!?! We have armed checkpoints and tense soldiers an hour away from our home these days. After several months of revolution in the capital, the conflict continues, and all we can do is PRAY for Ukraine.

  2. Phyllis, you were on my mind as I was writing this! Will continue to pray for Ukraine!

  3. This is exactly what I needed to hear as well. We are recently evacuated from South Sudan. Thank you-

  4. Amie...praying for your family and South Sudan!

  5. I've been thinking about your in Ukraine, Phyllis and wondering how you are. We're praying for Ukraine.

    We're following election results from El Salvador, Danielle. My own husband took 7 years to finish an undergrad in engineering due to the National University being closed of and on by the war. He remembers hiding in the bathroom with his family during La Ofensiva. They used mattresses to line the walls. And yes the stories of mined streets and dead bodies. I remember them too.

    1. Keep praying for El Salvador! No winner has been declared, but both sides are claiming victory. There are protests today because one party is being accused of fraud. Feels tense in San Salvador this morning!