Beautiful words for the King are in my heart. And I long to use my voice (or keyboard) to adequately communicate all the longing in our hearts. I’m thinking of our trip tomorrow morning. We’re going down to my husband’s hometown, nicknamed Beyond Forgotten, in the Salerno province. How we long to portray the poverty and desolation of the area, but words are so inadequate to express the real needs there.
My heart overflows with a noble theme. I recite my verses for the king. My tongue is like the pen of a skillful writer, (Psalm 45:1).
As we wrote in Beyond Forgotten, it’s an isolated village, in a forgotten area of Italy.
Only one road, winding up the mountain, leads to the hilltop town. Through the beautiful national park of Cilento, with its almost haunting beauty. But it’s not so much that the scenery is spectacular, though it is. Nor is it that the road leads to an exciting town, because it doesn’t.
It’s more the sensation that no one wants to stay there. That few go, or even want to go there.
We rarely see anyone, or even pass other cars during the 1½ hour climb up the mountain. Some cows, a few horses, and once in a while a shepherd or farmer.
Most of the crumbling, caved in roads are closed down.
Even GPS navigators warn of entering a restricted area.
Work is almost non-existent.
Crazy national park laws prohibit the farmers from doing so many things. Yet, with no industry, farming is almost all they have.
Most families and young people have moved away. Yet unemployment remains over 20%. There are no schools, and almost no stores.
Street after street of abandoned houses.
Full of abnormal alley cats, who use door steps as litter boxes. Trash lays where it falls. Who cleans abandoned streets?
The nearest hospital is 38 minutes away, but they can’t get there.
The road, closed down after a landslide years ago, has never been repaired. Making the nearest reachable hospital 48 minutes away, down twisting mountain roads.
So what makes us go, you may wonder? Yes, what indeed?
Who wants to go to a place like that? The only answer we know to give is: people like us, and people like you.
People with God’s love, hope, and peace in their hearts. And a longing to share it with others. People who know that though all in this life may seem hopeless — there is hope. Both now, in the midst of difficulties, and in the life to come. That is the message we have. Let’s not forget to share it!
We all have others around us who need to hear that there is hope. To know they are not forgotten.
Who goes to them? Who will go to them? Open your door and take them some cookies. Open your home and have them in for coffee. Open your ears to really hear what they are saying. And your heart to truly love them.
They need hope. They need to know they are not forgotten. But first we’ve got to show we care. Will you go?
Please keep us and the villagers in prayer. They need to know that they are not forgotten!
We’ll be without internet for most of July, unless we use the pizzeria’s wi-fi. Much to my delight there is a pizzeria! (Oddly enough.) The only way for us to have internet there is with a landline phone, too costly for a couple of months each year. But that’s OK. We need the reminder that internet is not a necessity. A helpful tool, yes. But we can live without it.