When Learning to Swim is a Privilege 

It was mostly toddlers who drowned off the coast of Libya.* Toddlers who had never paddled chubby legs in YMCA pools; who had never learned to hold their breath under water; whose last, terrible moments have to be given into the arms of God - because if not, life could not go on.  I only … Continue reading When Learning to Swim is a Privilege 

Persecution of Christians: Real and Stable

I speak up for refugees, immigrants, and Muslims on this blog. It's right that I do so. I see, read, and hear fear about all of these groups from a variety of people.  But today, I am speaking up for those from my own faith tradition who face persecution: Christians.  An organization called Open Doors … Continue reading Persecution of Christians: Real and Stable

1500 Olive Trees

Friends, I wrote this back in January, but I know many of us have been hurting over what is going on in Aleppo, so I am reposting. There comes a time on any trip where you feel overwhelmed, when tiredness and lack of control of your surroundings can creep into the journey. I think it … Continue reading 1500 Olive Trees

In the Fourth Watch of the Night

Recent Headlines: Saturday, December 3 - 10-alarm fire in Cambridge, MA displaces 166 people. Saturday, December 10 - Explosions outside football (soccer) stadium in Istanbul kills many. Turkey declares Sunday a national day of mourning for the country. Sunday, December 11 - Terrorist attack in Coptic Church kills over 25 people with many more wounded. Most of … Continue reading In the Fourth Watch of the Night

Refugee Sunday – A Day of Sharing

Each year, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America set aside the Sunday before Thanksgiving as a time to specifically remember refugees and highlight the humanitarian  work that they do through International Orthodox Christian Charities. Today is the day set aside for 2016. It is hard to get our heads around the … Continue reading Refugee Sunday – A Day of Sharing

A Life Overseas – Relax!

Readers, I am at A Life Overseas today talking about how God is at work in places where we go -- and because of this, we can relax. In August of 2015 I had the privilege of going to the Kurdish area of Iraq to work with refugees. On my first day there, I was traveling … Continue reading A Life Overseas – Relax!

Aleppo – History, Horror, and Cry for Help

In early September, main stream news sources and  all of social media were  alive with indignation when the Libertarian candidate for president – Gary Johnson - asked the question “What is Aleppo?” Indeed – What is Aleppo?  Aleppo is History. For hundreds of years Aleppo was the largest city in Syria and one of the … Continue reading Aleppo – History, Horror, and Cry for Help

When Pictures Wake us Up

The world grows tired but pictures wake us up. The world is weary of words, but pictures change the conversation. I write about refugees, knowing that there are those shaking their heads "yeah, yeah, we know already." This is coded language for the longer "We know there are refugees, we know there are overwhelming needs. … Continue reading When Pictures Wake us Up

For Sale Cheap: Kidneys and Children

"An entire criminal infrastructure has developed over the past 18 months around exploiting the migrant flow." Brian Donald, Europol Chief of Staff to Observer   It was five in the evening and we had just returned from South Lebanon. We had an hour before our evening appointment and so we collapsed on the bed, drained. … Continue reading For Sale Cheap: Kidneys and Children

Waving Olive Branches

Olives are ubiquitous in the Middle East. Served with almost every meal, they vary in color and size, offering a pungent, salty taste. Eat them with bread and white cheese and you have a meal fit for royalty. The trees are everywhere – in gardens, along the sides of roads, and in churchyards. You cannot … Continue reading Waving Olive Branches

Scraps from the Table

"Pity and what it offers are scraps from the table. Justice is a seat at the table."* Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan. Three vastly different countries with different histories and different politics. They don't even speak the same dialects of Arabic, but they are lumped together in the two-dimensional view that the Western world has of the Middle … Continue reading Scraps from the Table

It’s a Baby!

  I have several friends who have had babies in the past year. These babies are beautiful -- a couple of them boys, a couple of them girls. I watch in amazement as they grow week by week - one week soft, sweet-smelling lumps that look around at the world they came into in wonder; the … Continue reading It’s a Baby!

“Days of the Week”

Like most things, the refugee crisis is complex and three-dimensional. And one of the things that goes along with this work are the moments and times of extraordinary joy. This is one of those times. The children in the video are Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. They go to a school that is run by … Continue reading “Days of the Week”

And We’re Back…

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 … Continue reading And We’re Back…

Love, Fear and the Syrian Refugee

The NYTimes Daily Briefing had this to say this morning: Donald J. Trump, called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the country. At an assembly at Liberty University on Friday, Jerry Falwell Jr., under the banner "Training Champions for Christ since 1971"  said this: “If more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end … Continue reading Love, Fear and the Syrian Refugee

Syrian Moms Speak

"So now I know what the word 'refugee' means, that you leave your own country Syria, and you come to a strange land that you don't know, and you stay there and suffer its difficulties. That's the word 'refugee', it's very strange"* Sometimes my words and passion feel tired. I think to myself "I'm saying … Continue reading Syrian Moms Speak

The Refugee as Scapegoat

Breaking News: WASHINGTON — The House passed a bill Thursday to halt the admission of Syrian refugees into the U.S. until they undergo a more stringent vetting process — the most stringent vetting ever required for people fleeing a war-torn nation. [source-USA Today] I shake my head in disbelief and anger. It already takes two to three years for … Continue reading The Refugee as Scapegoat

Refugee Facts & Resources

I thought it would be helpful to compile resources here for those of you who are looking to know more about resettlement and how the refugee process works. The resources are a mixture of those found in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand. Refugee Information: Federal Office of Refugee Resettlement … Continue reading Refugee Facts & Resources