Last night we arrived back to Terminal E at Logan International Airport. The trip began early morning in Lebanon and by the time we arrived we had been up for 24 hours.
A wet snow was falling as we made our way out of the terminal, a contrast to our 60 degrees and sunny in both Jordan and Lebanon.
There is a lot to reflect on and think about as we readjust to our day jobs and seek to live faithfully in a place that we don’t find easy.
We are richer in spirit and are humbled by what we have seen and heard.
These are some first thoughts on return. More stories will be coming, stories that are important to hear, but for now these are the things most on my heart.
- “Refugees all want to come here”..this is a myth perpetuated by a faux media. They want safety and to go home. It is arrogant of the West to think that all want to come to this part of the world. It is wrong of the Church to base decisions on fear instead of prayer and wisdom.
- The churches in Jordan and Lebanon are deeply involved in helping in the crisis. They are tireless in their efforts to feed, clothe, educate, and provide health care for refugees. No penny you give will be wasted. I have provided links to two organizations that I guarantee give money to projects directly helping refugees in their daily lives.
- The problem is so huge there is no room for competition or territorialism. There is only room for collaboration and hard work. No one organization or group of people can possibly handle the scope of refugee work that exists. Competition hurts the very people that the organization wants to serve.
- In every crisis, there are opportunists. This is the hardest thing for me to come to terms with. Exploiting the marginalized, the refugee, the hurting is nothing new – but there are infinitely creative ways to do this. My heart hurts deeply for this. Da’esh (ISIS) is one evil, opportunists are another. The way to intervene is to offer appropriate help.
- Babies are born in the worst of circumstances. They are a picture of grace in the midst of difficulty. I’ll write more later on the importance of offering good forms of birth control. I would gently challenge anyone against birth control to visit a refugee camp and not reconsider their position.
- I have been challenged more than ever to pray and believe that the Church has a significant role to play. It is a role of service, prayer, and help. It is a place for the Church to show what it is made of and to live out the Gospel message.
- There is only one who is the Saviour, and I am not that Saviour. Yes, I hope I have a role to play, but I have to see my role through the eyes of humility and grace. There is no place for arrogance.
It was a gift to be with my husband on this journey and hear stories together. Thank you to those who have followed us on this trip.
On this Martin Luther King Day, I am reminded to pray that voices and lives rise up for peace and justice around the world. In the words of Amos the prophet: “Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream”
- Conscience International – If you are interested in small projects like food distribution, helping to fund a mobile medical clinic, or helping support Syrian children go to school. CI does small projects that directly support refugees with almost no overhead.
- Heart for Lebanon – This is an amazing organization that works with refugees around Lebanon focusing on food distribution and education. The organization is based on developing relationships with refugees. I can’t speak highly enough about this organization.
Note: We received permission to take and share all pictures that you see on this blog.
8 thoughts on “And We’re Back…”
We had a “Prayer for the Nations” Sunday at church this week, with stations for different countries. First we prayed through Southeast Asia (where we are), and then the rest of East Asia, and then the Middle East. During the Middle East time I went to Jordan, thinking of you and of our dear friends there who are working with the Jordanian church and helping refugees, four years straight now. So I know firsthand from their stories how the Jordanian church is working tirelessly. And YES, I love all your points here, both the practical and the theological — how the Church is and must be the answer to these crises. Thank you for retaining that hope in the midst of this pain you’ve witnessed, and for passing it on to us. Blessings as you re-enter America, my dear friend.
I think that your #1 point should read: “Refugees all want to come here…” That is the myth. And I would like the two links you mentioned to send money to Lebanon and Jordan…
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Oh good call! thank you! Changing it right now. I hadn’t realized how it sounded until you commented. Also didn’t realize until a couple others sent emails that I had forgotten the links. Thank you so much for reading.
My daughter and son in law work with the refugees in Lebanon and I imagine the work is like chipping at an iceburg with a toothpick. Thank you for shining a light on the work they do there!
So glad you are back and thank you for all your posts. Looking forward to all that you are able to share with us.
Have read each of your posts with a full heart. Looking forward to your further processing. Peace and blessing be upon you and Cliff.
Thank you, thank you for every powerful word here . . . may the causes you describe and the paths to healing you propose be taken up by many. And may we all be given the Grace to be courageous and to raise our own voices for justice. What a perfect post for this day honoring Martin Luther King.
Ahlan wa sahlan, Marilyn! It’s amazing to see places that are near and dear to my heart in your blog! I appreciate the synthesis of your thoughts here. Especially #1 and #2. I really do not think the answer is to bring all the refugees to America, especially since they would prefer to go back home to a peaceful, safe country! And thanks for lauding the hard work and efforts of the Jordanian and Lebanese churches. Although they are a tiny minority, they are doing far more than their numbers suggest to reach out to refugees. Their compassion and practical help has earned them a good name, and speaks louder than many sermons.