23 May 2012

Kidnapping Threat

May 23, 2012

The U.S. Embassy alerts U.S. citizens to that it has received credible
reports that extremists are planning to carry out kidnapping operations
targeting westerners in greater [K-town].  U.S. citizens are advised to
vary their times and routes of travel and to be aware of their
surroundings. If you believe you are being monitored you should report
incidents to the U.S. Embassy at the phone number below.

I read this email just as I was preparing to walk around town to do a few errands. I’d be lying if I said I happily and lightly skipped down my stairs and out my gate after reading this.

What I actually did first was re-consider walking outside alone at all. But truly I needed groceries and there was no way around it. Secondly I re-evaluated my clothing. I was already dressed in a ankle length skirt and long sleeves (winter wear for 100+ temps, ack!). I wasn’t planning on covering my head but I quickly changed my mind on that one. Times are changing around here and I can feel the difference myself.  If covering my blonde head of hair with a head-scarf gets me a bit less attention, then it’s well worth it at this point.

I walked down the streets, feeling so different. Our six years in this country have been anything but secure. Each year one international or government or presidential fiasco sends us reeling into greater depths of insecurity and questions. I guess this year wouldn’t be any different. In fact, it will certainly be more of the same. Never has any of the animosity that is often palpable in different areas through the country and our city been directed at westerners. We’re not always the favorites, but we haven’t been the enemy in the past either.

But now that has apparently changed.

To read news that those of us with white skin (and I the whitest of all!) are now being targeted gives a crazy uneasy feeling in my soul that I haven’t yet experienced at this point in my life. If I’m honest, I’ll admit that I have always been conscious of not walking closely to big vans with dark tinted windows or getting myself backed into corners of small shops in the market. But in the past these precautions were unfounded. Some might have called them silly.  But now such precautions are appropriate and even recommended.

So as I walk the dust swirls around my feet and my sunglass shielded eyes scan the roads for any funny business.  But I don’t walk alone and I’m well aware of that.

Before I read the email, by the providence of God I read this:

Psalm 121
A song of ascents.

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all harm
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

My help comes from Him. He watches over me. He will keep me from harm and watch over my life.  He will watch my coming and going both now and forevermore.

God’s timing is so good, isn’t it? The perfect Psalm for my troubled heart before an email that could worry me to the core.

And so I walk. And I choose to cast out fear. And I lift my eyes up. And I trust my God.

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