I was saving the world, one tweet at a time. Of course, Twitter activism is more effective when there is actual hope and enthusiasm for the cause. The many Kurdish Twitter accounts I had hunted down and added to my followers had heartrending messages, pictures, videos and pleas for America to #donotabandonRojava and #donotabandontheKurds. Once U.S. soldiers are gone, the Turks will come to slaughter them, but their cries have very little attention. Apparently the Kurds have been too busy fighting ISIS to build a healthy international online presence because their tweets have dismally few likes and retweets. In contrast Donald Trump’s tweet relating his cozy conversation with the butcher Erodagan of Turkey and calmly explaining their treachery against the Kurds has 45,000 likes in only four hours. He loves it when he can talk to someone on his own level of evil and apparently his faithful followers feel the same kinship. I found a few hopeful cable news clips of regional experts insisting that this pull out would have catastrophic effects, and honorable men that have resigned in protest, but as cable news is mostly entertainment, and doomed people that got the worst Christmas present from 45 ever make for poor entertainment, I imagine that the news cycle will soon move on. The Kurds are doomed and Americans will open their Christmas gifts on Christmas morning without a thought for them.
It was two o’clock in the morning, and I couldn’t shut my brain off. I laid in the dark thinking about singing in sacrament meeting the next day. I hadn’t sung this arrangement before and I was going to run through it the next morning with my accompanist, Andrew Barbosa. Then I would sing it in front of the whole ward. “Why didn’t I practice more?” I lectured myself. I could not get the Kurds out of my head. I had read everything I could find about them and the more I read, the more real they felt to me.
I always wondered how the world could have let the holocaust happen. Now I know. We turn away our faces, just as Isaiah said we would do to the Savior. “We hid, as it were, our faces from him.” Some things are too horrible to comprehend, like the millions of Kurds that have been murdered over the last century because they want to have Kurdish spoken in their children’s schools, they want to sing songs out loud in Kurdish, and they want to worship God the way they want to. Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran have relentlessly persecuted them in the most atrocious ways. From time to time the United Nations and human rights groups have had pity on them, but in the end, man’s inhumanity to man always seems to fall upon them.
In this country there was another group a couple hundred years ago. They were driven from place to place because they were different. They believed that God and Jesus Christ had called a prophet that was publishing new words from Him to his chosen people. They were gathering Israel again and their numbers were growing. Fear, suspicion, and hatred combined against them. They were the Mormons, and my ancestors were among them. They crossed the wilderness in wagons and with handcarts, burying babies and husbands and wives along the trail. They found a place in the mountains where they could live unmolested; a desert land in nestled in the mountains. We should have died there slowly of starvation, but the Lord was merciful. A vast wilderness separated us from the people who hated us. By the time that wilderness was populated, the hatred had cooled, and the Mormon people are able to worship as we choose to this day. What would have happened to us if we had lived in the heart of the Middle East as the Kurds do?
Does God love the Mormon people more than the Kurdish? No. He is no respecter of persons. They are his children. He loves them, and so do I. I prayed in my anguish that God would have mercy on the Kurds. The Savior commanded us to love and serve the least among us. Surely the Kurds are the least. They have no nation and no rights. They are hated and persecuted and betrayed by the powerful who use them and cast them aside. I refuse to turn my face away from them, but I cannot bare the sorrow myself. I drank my fill and then I prayed in anguish of my soul.
“My Savior, I love thee and seek to be thy handmaid. Please have mercy upon the Kurdish people. Their skin, religion, and customs are not mine, but I love them as though they were my brothers and sisters. Have mercy upon them as thou hast had mercy upon me. Let their lives be precious in thy sight as my life and the lives of my boys are precious in thy sight. Let thy angels surround them in their mountain home as thou hast protected my people. Let them have the rights I take for granted to live and sing praises to thee in their tongue and according to their traditions. Let not their enemies destroy them! Show them that the Savior is the Savior of all men, and those rejected and despised are valued by thee. For the Lord taketh the weak things of the world to work his mighty miracles. The first shall be last and the last shall be first. The wisdom of the wise is turned to foolishness and weak things are made strong.”
He was despised. Despised and rejected. For he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. We are kin in suffering. The blood of the sorrowful cries out unto thee for we know that thou didst descend below them all. Thy mercy is always over thy children and thou art mighty to save. If ever I was thy handmaid, and if thou hearest my voice, let thy mighty hand be made bare to the nations! Let the nations of the Earth witness that there is a God in Israel!
His voice came to me, “Peace be unto thy soul. Even as Joseph’s heart yearned after Benjamin, so your heart yearns after his seed. I the Lord will remember my covenant people, the seed of my servant Abraham. In my wisdom and my mercy have I spread his seed unto all nations and I will not forget my people Israel.”
He is Mighty to Save! His hand will be made bare before the nations of the world for he will not abandon his people Israel! His omnipotent hand will snatch the prey from the mighty and deliver his people. Someday perhaps I will meet them in their mountain home and rejoice with them in their deliverance. Their sister who loved them and prayed for them in the darkness of the night.
This morning Devin had a migraine and couldn’t find his pants. Wesley drug his bare feet to the bitter end. I arrived twenty minutes late to practice. I ran through my solo along with the two numbers the choir was singing. During announcements Austin knocked off my fake eyelashes. Two minutes before I was supposed to come up and sing, I ran to the bathroom and miraculously put them back on just in time to walk up to the pulpit as though nothing had happened! I prayed that my tired voice would carry the message to his people in church today. It was my Christmas gift to them. I have had so many loving, encouraging friends in my ward. The tender mercies of the Lord have been poured out upon me without measure. Although I don’t deserve them, I take them gladly. My little Tedford children were on the second row, all four of them! Their neon sweatshirts and black cornrows made the ward Christmas scene complete. William sweetly wished me a Merry Christmas. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me that they were there to hear my testimony of our Lord and Savior. He is Mighty to Save! He was born in Bethlehem to a virgin who did conceive of the Holy Ghost, a baby, even the only begotten son of the Father.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:5
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is Love and His gospel is Peace;
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease,
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful Chorus raise we;
Let all within us praise his Holy name!
O Holy Night!! Blessed day of our redemption when God’s son came into the world to bring us life and light! O Holy, Holy Night! My heart is comforted for I know that he will deliver his people, Israel. And men shall marvel for he is Mighty to Save! Blessed be the name of the Most High God!