My Heart is Breaking for Turkey [Tenn Day 2]
Today was a rollercoaster. I'm here in Tennessee, hosting my first trip alone for Rovia. Because of the fire in the kitchens at the hotel yesterday, plans seemed to change every hour or so and by the time I sat behind the welcome table and waited for our members to check-in, I was a bit tired out.
Then I started receiving notifications on my phone about the attempted military coup in Turkey. I lived in Istanbul for a summer in 2013 and fell in love with the wonderful people, the culture, the food, and the tolerant city that seemed to have people from every inch of the globe.
My heart was breaking as more and more bad news came streaming in. At first I was terrified - military coups are always bad, right? But the more I studied the relatively peaceful military coups of the past in Turkey and their role in ensuring (not taking) constitutional rights, the more I feared the future if the current president remains. He has been in office longer than others and is intent on making the government Islamic (with no separation between church and state - one of the key elements of the Turkish constitution). And now that thousands of intellectuals, police officers, and military are being purged, I cannot help but fear that the coup may have been a last ditch efforts to return to Turkey's constitutional foundation.
To be honest, I couldn't help but look around and feel the stark contrast. Here I am, in the huge five star hotel, focused on 'having fun', while Turkey's democracy is literally falling apart at the seams. I couldn't help but read the accounts of people driving 100+ MPH to get home to their families and the protests in the streets and think about the quiet little street I lived on with Mine, a wonderful Turkish LDS member who took me into her home as one of her own. I couldn't help but contrast that with my experiences that seem so long ago, but were really just a couple of years ago.
It's one of those moments in your life when you feel this conflict between gratitude for the freedoms you enjoy and the hopelessness of wondering if those freedoms will last in this increasingly volatile world.
I realized that there is not meant to be peace in this world. This is a celestial concept, one that our spirits yearn for. This world will only be at peace with His coming and in the meantime, we have to strive to 1) live in personal peace through His gospel, and 2) do ALL in our power to promote peace - even if it's a losing cause at times.
I am praying with my whole soul for Turkey and their weakening democracy. Please pray with me! The Church is expanding like crazy over there but the changes happening under this president could easily place a hold on all the work they've done so far. Pray for their people, pray for their peace, and pray for their democracy.
Safe travels, my friends! Let's smile more, love more, and pray more, yes?
Day 1: Staying in the HUGE Bass Pro Shop Pyramid in Memphis >>
Day 2: My Heart is Breaking for Turkey >>
Day 3: Rolling on the Mississippi River >>
Day 4: Attending the Spanish Branch and My "Chance" Meeting >>
Day 5: Disneyland for Outdoorsmen: Bass Pro Shop Pyramid >>
Check out another post on Turkey: