Julie Gaede, the wife of Tutapona's founder, has been in Kurdistan for less than a month. These are some of her first thoughts upon her arrival.
On the second leg of our flight to Kurdistan, I switched off my movie, took out my headphones and looked over at my two daughters. Emma returned my glance and flashed me her beautiful smile. My emotions suddenly overwhelmed me and I began to weep. Grace then looked up, too, and the three of us let our tears spill…
I was overwhelmed by the grief of saying goodbye to my daughter Judith and grandson Elijah. Overwhelmed with feelings of guilt over all that we’ve expected of our children… all of the transitions, all of the goodbyes; my auto-pilot mode switching on (which got me through the late-night packing and sorting, appointments, and farewells to family and friends) and the unknowns of what lay ahead…. This was all coupled with my excitement over seeing my husband again, after a month of important days being apart.
Carl had been updating me from Iraq. “The trauma has been so devastating," he told me. "People are just walking down the street and collapsing because of all they've encountered." He told me about a visit to the survivor’s camp where he met with girls who had been kidnapped and sexually abused. "It was so heartbreaking, getting a glimpse of what they’ve encountered… I met with the family of a 14 year old girl who committed suicide after escaping captivity… Julie, you’ll be spending much of your time at the survivor’s camp.”
How, God? What on EARTH can I possibly offer?? Well, nothing on earth – that’s for sure…
God responded, “I know what they need, you merely need to be My hands and feet and follow My lead.” YES! I can do that. “I will never leave you, nor forsake you,” He reminded me once again.
A couple days after we arrived I grabbed my earphones and listened for the first time to “I Stand in Awe” on the new ‘Let it Echo’ album, and heard these words:
“Let it rise, let it rise, we cannot contain this Grace inside – let it rise, let it rise, let the sound of Heaven multiply”
It reminded me again of why we give it all up to be here. I then took out my headphones, stared at my peacefully sleeping husband awhile, the person whom I admire deeply for his passion, and felt “I’m home.”
Let's get to work.
P.S. Because we now live and work in a delicate region of the world, you'll notice us being a bit more careful about the words we use on social media to describe our work. If you hear that we might need prayer for anything, please be careful about using social media to get the word out. Also, we ask that you not tag us on posts that could compromise our work by using words like “missions,” “ministry,” “convert,” etc. We want to be respectful of the environment we work in and the people we work with. Thank you for supporting our work!