This morning we all ended one journey and began another. Our visit to Turkey has come to a close but I think the adventure has only just begun. We had dinner at a beautiful restaurant last night, which was nestled on a pedestrian walkway in Istanbul. All 44 of us sat at tables that lined this beautiful street and we soaked in the last of what Istanbul could offer us at this moment. Their was laughter, amazing food, memories shared of our time here, and moments of silence as we soaked in the beauty and wonder that is Turkey.
Today we venture off to new places and to back home and while many of us are ready to be back, we also are grieving the loss of this new community and this incredible country. I think we are all still processing all that we have seen and heard and learned. We left Istanbul today and the riots were just miles from where we stayed. All of our hearts will be in Turkey these coming days as we watch all of this unfold. Our guide would say repeatedly on our trip as he would explain things to us about his country, about it's history, and about it's future: "We need to pray for peace." And for peace we will continue to pray.
We concluded a time of reflection last night by singing, Dona Nobis Pacem (Grant us peace), in the round. It was incredibly moving.
This whole trip has been a beautiful journey of peace and I have been moved in so many ways.
We as the students have decided that while our journey may be over, we still have some processing and sharing to do. We hope to post some of these reflections and more pictures in the next few weeks (but we may need a few days to recover first).
Thank you all for joining us in this journey. You have been a blessing!