freetext. i shake their hands and look in their eyes

There have been incredibly wonderful blogs posted about the refugee crisis and recent executive order that I highly recommend you read.  The first one I’m going to mention… a must read.

**Preemptive Love Coalition. Read their beautiful words here. It’s straight forward, with all the sides of the debate recognized. If you need to spent 5 minutes reading something today, read this! We support and partner with them financially. We read their blog weekly. And follow them on Instagram. It gives us perspective, reminds us to pray. Their videos are incredible. They are legit, the real deal. On the ground, making a difference.

**Relevant is my go to news source on my blog reader (the app I use to follow all my bloggers is Feedly and love it!) Their post here, they present the facts, and they’re credible.

Among all the organizations to support regarding refugees, it’s hard to know who and how and why. Here is a good list that you can refer to. About a year ago we started with Preemptive Love Coalition because everything we’ve seen of them is so loving, so compassionate, and so real. World Relief has local offices in many cities (known as Arrive Ministries in the twin cities) and they are your local refugee resettling group that you can donate items, actually host a family, set up an apartment, mentor or coach refugees. If you want something more than just financial support as a way to ACT on this crisis, they are amazing.

We are at it again. Newsfeeds. Blogs. Posts. Everything is blowing up online. The world is shaking. The nation is dividing. And everyone is just struggling to breathe.

For the last 18 months, I speak to Muslim Refugees every single week.

I shake their hands and look in their eyes.

I touch the brightly colored head wraps on the 6 year old girls when I listen to their heart beating.

Yes. I listen to the hearts of Muslim refugees. Every. Week.

I tell the mama of eight children that all their teeth are perfect and affirm she is doing a wonderful job as a mama.

I ask the children if they’re being bullied. Or hurt.

I see the scars on the 8 year old boy from their doctors trying to make them better as a baby.

I can’t speak their language but the interpreter helps me communicate.

I ask about their original home country, before they came to the States. I ask what (or usually who) they miss or who they love. I can’t repeat their stories. But I am left breathless.

Matt and I. We lived a fair amount of the last decade in complete ignorance of the refugee crisis in the world. Then one year ago ; with the increased desire to support global organizations, we found Preemptive Love Coalition and became partners with them. They are on the ground. Simply loving and serving. Regardless of opinion or conviction, they help with basic needs, with advocacy and awareness. Then 18 months ago, God convicted me to quit my job, and I started a new one, a free clinic in the deep of Minneapolis, with countless cultures and languages and people groups. Refugees included.

Last night I had to tell Ethan. My soul was in such sorrow. I didn’t know what he’d hear at preschool today. Or what he’d overhear us talking about. Or what he’d hear if our car radio was on. And I wanted to make sure he heard it in a way that he could understand….this is what I said. (and I pulled up images of refuges in camps, on boats, and in their country for him to see).

Ethan. I need to tell you something hard. 

  • There are people, who live far away, that have people trying to hurt them. Adults and kids that are trying to run away.
  • And sometimes they want to come where we live. But our teacher has said “no, they can’t live by us”.
    • (Ethan immediately asked “why?”)
  • Because they are afraid they will hurt us. But buddy, we don’t need to be scared of them. Because they’re the ones that are scared. They’re people like you and me. 
  • They need a safe place. So our family is going to give money to people who are helping them have food and stay safe. I’m going to take care of their owies in the city.
  • We’re going to pray for them.
  • Some people are mad about all of this. Some adults may be mad. And buddy, I want you to know if you hear that, and if you have any questions, you can ask me and daddy OK?
  • And we’re going to tell people that we love, that we love everyone because God made everyone.
  • In case you hear it, these people are called Refugees.”

Before bed I asked if I could take a video of him saying what he understands. If he had to tell our friends about this, or hears about it, what would he say?

May love and grace and compassion win. May justice win. May words be followed up with actions.

Perhaps this somehow will bring about good. Perhaps we’ll stop reading and talking about it, and ask ourselves “so what” — which will lead us to action or soul change. Perhaps we’ll get off the couch and protest — demonstrate to our teachers, that we are not passively absorbing what they are trying to teach as ideals. Perhaps church leaders will be brave and radically show who the real Jesus is, not the “american christianity” morals of safety, but the Jesus who changes lives and lives a life of sacrifice for the sake of others. For Jesus himself was a refugee.

I know for many people this issue isn’t black and white. And people from all faiths (including Christianity) fall on both sides. My hope is that all of us, Matt and I included, can be calm and loving as we engage in activities and conversations with everyone.

I pray that gentleness with people’s stories and convictions will dominate the atmosphere.

I have to return to work. I will see names I can not pronounce correctly. Names that originate from areas now blocked from our home. I hurt for how they are feeling. But I am honored to love them WELL. To help them be WELL. Who am I that God would send me to be with a Muslim Refugee this week, in a nation that they feel unloved and unwanted?

May I honor every beautiful person He created for His glory. May I represent Jesus, in truth, to the greater population of the small world He has placed me to be.