The Tajik and the Turkeys

I don’t remember the exact circumstances but I happened to be walking in my yard waiting for my cousin and his wife to come for dinner. I watched as builders came and went from the neighbor’s house. A rough looking man, coming from a rough looking white van came over to me. He spoke to me in a thick Russian accent, “Can I see your turzkeys?” “Uh… sure. Yeah.” Not sure why he had an interest in my family of turkeys.. I obliged. He began explaining about Turkeys in Tajikistan, and how they were different. We chatted about turkeys for a bit and then I attempted to make it clear I had things to do before guests arrived. He didn’t get the message. I know, we Americans can be a little subtle sometimes. I slowly guided him back across the driveway near his van. But, alas, he continued to talk. Our guests had arrived and now I was bordering on being rude by not attending to them. I could see them wandering about with my wife and she looked over at me wishing me over there. “Welp, I had better get back to my guests..” I don’t remember his exact words.. but he made it clear he needed to tell me something. I tried to make it clear that I would like that.. some other time. Regardless of this, he began telling me his story… he seemed to think that it was important that I hear it.

He lived in Tajikistan during the civil war that started there in 1992. From his telling I would have thought it was a Russian invasion.. as it sort of was. He is explained in great detail as he heard the helicopters come in. He went outside to see what was going on and saw the sky full of Russian paratroopers. They were landing in the streets “shooting everyone they saw”. Soon, tanks would be firing shells down the street.. buildings exploding. I stood there dumbfounded while this guy told me about things I know only from books and movies. The fighting went on for weeks or months.. I am not sure exactly.. but he and his family were holed up in their apartment for some time. He and his family were Russians living in Tajikistan.. so while they were theoretically safe from the Russian troops, maybe not so much from the surround Tajik peoples.

As the war dragged on food became scarce. He and his wife had a baby that was only a few months old. Due to the stress of the situation his wife no longer was able to produce breast milk. The baby was starving to death. They attempted to make formula out of honey and what other little provisions they had, but without formula, the baby would die. My new Tajik friend did the only thing he could.. he got down on his knees and cried out to God. He begged God to save his young child. God answered. He was given a vision.. he saw himself clearly going down the street.. around a bend in the road.. and then he stopped.. in front of one of the houses that look just like all the other houses. The next morning he awoke before curfew was up and set out to find this house. He grabbed a few jars of honey in the hopes he would be able to trade for baby formula.

When he finally saw the house he knew that was the one from his vision. He immediately knocked on the door. No answer. He knocked again. No answer. He was now beating on the door. He knew this was were God told him he would find baby formula. This had to be it. Finally, the door cracked open. A terrified women peered though.. “Who is it, what do you want, it’s curfew.” “I know you have baby formula here, I need it or my child will die.” She looked at him in shock. “How did you know? We have piles of baby formula that no one will trade us for.” He explained to her that God had told him where he would be able to find baby formula. They happily exchanged honey for baby formula and soon he was back at his apartment feeding his malnourished infant.

At this point I was well and truly being rude to my guests. I thanked him for telling me this story and hurried to greet my guests. After apologizing for the delay I began telling them story I had just been told. I could tell by their reaction this was more then just a good story for them. They explained that their was a rift in their church.. a disagreement over whether or not God was still actively performing miracles. While they believed that God was still using miracles amongst his people.. believing without seeing is difficult. This story was just the encouragement they needed. It was a gift from God.. a sort of secondary miracle.

While of course, it is easy to dismiss stories like this. It’s easy to dismiss anything that we don’t want to incorporate into our own worldview.. just as easy as it is to accept things like this if it supports our worldview. I choose to do the later.


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