Evil and a Challenge

There’s a word for what happens when one group of people sees another as less than human and insists on its right to hurt and humiliate them for fun. It’s an everyday word that is often misused to refer to something outside of ourselves. The word is ‘evil’.” Laurie Penny I arrived in the country of … Continue reading Evil and a Challenge

Sometimes You Choose to Feed the Kittens

Sometimes all you can do is feed the kittens.... Just before we head to bed, we hear the echoing mew of a kitten. It is pitiful and anxious, a mournful sound on a cold night. The sound reverberates through the hallway, as if to voice all the sadness and loss of the world. My husband … Continue reading Sometimes You Choose to Feed the Kittens

Physical Well-being and Cross-Cultural Adjustment

I was sick yesterday. Not laid flat in bed with a high fever sick, but a low grade fever, aches, and general feelings of misery. I was scheduled to visit the maternal child hospital with the Maternal Child Health Professor- Mamusta Renas. I had been looking forward to this visit, and I was not going … Continue reading Physical Well-being and Cross-Cultural Adjustment

Beauty in the Ordinary

The light was just going over the mountains and shades of purple, blue, rose, and orange all melded together into an ordinary sunset. Miraculously ordinary. I wanted to capture it, even though I know that there will be another one tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after. Beautiful sunsets are a part of … Continue reading Beauty in the Ordinary

Rania – Reflections on Place, Work, and Travel

I walk up the three flights of stairs to our apartment and unlock the door. I step inside and breathe a sigh of gratitude. No matter where you live, you need a home base. This is why the displacement and refugee crisis of our time is so important to care about. We are created for … Continue reading Rania – Reflections on Place, Work, and Travel

Peeling Pomegranates in Rania

I wake to a sun-filled room in Kurdistan. It is Friday and we have slept late, still catching up from hours of lost sleep in the last couple weeks of packing and moving. Friday begins our weekend in this part of the world, and the mosque behind our apartment reminds us that it is a … Continue reading Peeling Pomegranates in Rania

Next Stop Kurdistan

We head to the airport in Doha Qatar early in the morning. Already the air is heavy with heat. Humidity is high and my husband’s glasses fog up as soon as he steps outside. The majority of Qatar is not Qataris but those in Qatar for work or travel. It feels like a fascinating and … Continue reading Next Stop Kurdistan

Palestinian Christians and a Prayer for Healed Eyesight

“The perseverance of small, powerless drops of water dripping on the same rock, in the same place, ends by breaking the rock. In the same way, the power of faith with perseverance can break walls of hatred, of rejection, and of violent injustice.”* The book sits on our book shelf, old and dusty with pages … Continue reading Palestinian Christians and a Prayer for Healed Eyesight

A Life Overseas – Saint Photini: Missionary, Martyr, and Beloved One

I'm at a A Life Overseas today! I would love it if you joined me there to talk about a story familiar to many.  One of the best-known yet least known stories in the Gospel of John is about a woman known simply as the “Samaritan Woman.” The familiar story tells us that Jesus had … Continue reading A Life Overseas – Saint Photini: Missionary, Martyr, and Beloved One

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

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

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

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”