I think this would be a great story for us in the AFA Journal,” my staff writer said.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Camp Ichay on the Israeli-Syrian border. It’s a refugee camp where Christians and Israelis are bringing food, clothing, and medical care to Muslim families who’ve been devastated by civil war in Syria.”
“Yes, great idea,” I agreed. “But who would you call to interview?”
“Oh, I’d go there and do interviews.”
“Sure, of course, you would.” I tried to control my sarcasm and let her down easy. “Sorry, Anne. It does sound like a great story, but there’s no way AFA could afford that investment in one single story.”
She went silent, and I thought the matter was settled. But a few days later, she subtly snuck it back into our conversation. Again.
“Well, what do you think about the Camp Ichay idea?”
“You know – Camp Ichay. Israel.”
“Oh, that. No, sorry. It just isn’t gonna happen. I’d be embarrassed even to ask the boss for approval. ”
I thought she’d given up. The dream had died. Reality won. I shoulda known better. The next week, here it came. Again.
“What if I could find a source for most of the expense?”
“What expense are you talking about?”
“And how are you gonna do that?” I know I must have slumped my shoulders. By this time, our dialogue had crawled along at a snail’s pace through several weeks. I was ready to put an end to it, and the best way I could figure to do that was to play along with her impossible dream of finding money to make the dream reality. It would die quickly.
“Just let me work on it,” she persisted.
“OK,” I said.
But you’re wasting your time, I thought.
A few days later, she was back, her perseverance rewarded.
Dear reader, you’ll be moved and challenged by Anne Reed’s account of her visit to Camp Ichay.
Yes, she was back, grinning ear to ear. Money in hand, so to speak – meals, accommodations, half the airfare. Packing her bags.
My conversation with boss Tim Wildmon was brief and to the point. I filled him in briefly on Camp Ichay (pronounced e-shy), which is operated by Friend Ships, a U.S. based humanitarian aid ministry. He interrupted even before I could tell him our … uh, Anne’s plan.
“Let me guess,” Tim said. “And you want to go over there and get shot at?”
“Well, who does want to go?”
“Oh.” Short pause. “That explains it.”
Anne’s story from her visit to Camp Ichay paints a stunning picture of the gospel at work, of the hands and feet of Jesus serving others in His name.
Camp Ichay reflects the words of Jesus when He encouraged His disciples:
I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was homeless and you gave me a room. I was shivering and you gave me clothes. … I’m telling you the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was Me – you did it to Me (Matthew 25:35, 40, MSG).