June’s Jordan Journey

Here is our final team member’s note about her journey to Jordan.

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On our trip I learned just how spoiled we are and how we take things for granted – so unappreciative and selfish.

I saw people with faith, love, and hope with a little of nothing that showed hospitality and welcomed us with open arms-thankful for what little they had and keeping their eyes on the Lord with hope.

When we think about faith like a mustard seed, I saw that firsthand in our home visits the church set up for the refugees where they could come together for the hope needed to carry on.

I worked with children that were far behind in learning and not allowed to attend public schools, and women with skills but could not go to work like we can.  I saw how important the church school and women’s center and in-home visits are to those hurting refugees.  It’s hard to put into words; just something you have to see to appreciate and understand the great need.

Something much needed that we all can do is pray!  Prayers for their families, health needs, visas to be able to go to another country and get settled-just to know they’re not forgotten.  The children need to be in school, women need a place to use their skills and feel self-worth, men need jobs to care for their families.

In all it was a very humbling, heartbreaking experience-an eye opener as I could see how we take things for granted but thankful for the opportunity to go, see, and do.  Praise God!

-June Hartlaub

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Sherry’s Jordan Journey

Here is a second team member’s note about her journey to Jordan.

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My recent journey was truly a journey of love and miracles.  When I told my family that I wanted to go to Jordan their reaction was, “No way.”  It is hard to explain why as a retired grandmother I felt God was calling me to take this leap of faith and following His lead. I have no visible talent-can’t sing (but I can make a joyful noise), can’t do physical work, but I can and do have a huge capacity for love.  And God had a plan for me and my love.

While we were there, my time was spent at the Women’s Center and on home visits.  Let me tell you about the Women’s Center. The center offers women the opportunity to come together to learn crafts to perhaps sell them and earn a little money, but more importantly it gives them the chance to fellowship with one another and with us.  I met so many beautiful and wonderful women who are just like us in so many ways, but are so much stronger, happier, funny and joyful.  One Syrian woman absolutely blew me away in every way; but perhaps the most heart breaking way was her answer when I asked her where she wanted to go. Most people said Canada, Australia, or perhaps Brazil; but her answer was she wants to go home, back to Syria.

See, we are all basically the same; we want to be home.  And perhaps many of the beautiful, wonderful people God gave me the blessing of meeting may not get to go home until we are all home with Jesus in heaven.

-Sherry Morrow

Bob’s Jordan Journey

Our team that went to Jordan had a life-impacting journey. Here is one member’s note about his journey.

img-20180418-wa00161158138559.jpgOn my first Syrian refugee home visit, I choked back tears as I listened to heart- wrenching stories of their lives. I began to wonder how I would make it through the next 10 days. I wondered if my being there was a mistake. Then God began to show me hope! These people who have no material possessions have everything in Jesus Christ. They have faith that I can only pray to have someday. That faith, that God is in control, gives them hope for tomorrow and a better life.

I went to Jordan to be a blessing, but as God would have it I was blessed. Truly a humbling experience that I am grateful for.

-Bob Sagrilla

3 Messages from Jordan

Back in Florida from a 13-day trip to Jordan. We had an outstanding time with the team (Latvians, Brazilians, Irish, Americans) pictured below.


When talking with those we went to support, I asked three of them this question: “When I have the opportunity to share with Americans a message from you, what would you like me to share?” Here are their responses:

Receive and love our people. They’ve suffered enough. Don’t add to their pain or cause them more hurt. -Iraqi refugee

When you pray for us, consider that you might be the answer to your own prayer. -Missionary

We believe the American church is our mother church. We pray for you. Please pray for us. -Pastor

31 Proverbs Highlights: #31-Speaking Up for the Voiceless 

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs)

Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed. Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭31‬:‭8-9‬ HCSB)

Many people groups have no voice today. These verses describe them as dispossessed, oppressed, and needy. What groups come to mind when you read those descriptions?

Dispossessed groups certainly include the unfathomable amount of refugees around the globe. To be even more specific, this description includes the staggering number of children dispossessed around the world for a myriad of reasons. Speaking up for such groups can take on various forms. If you’re wondering how to do it, here are a few suggestions:

  • Follow social media to stay informed. Two suggestions include @WorldVision and @Samaritan’sPurse.
  • Share news to raise awareness and to encourage prayer and support. Go beyond following by sharing and creating dialogue.
  • Support efforts financially. You can sponsor a child through monthly gifts or give to trustworthy organizations giving these groups a voice.
  • Consider a short-term missions trip to put hands to your voice. Who says vacation can’t be about speaking up for the voiceless?
  • Consider getting more involved in the future with a second career or during retirement. A full lifer has much to offer to the growing lifer.

Peaceseekers

Twelve hours ago I walked through the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, my second visit there. Currently, the museum has an exhibit called What We Carried.

Since 2003, more than four million Iraqis have left their homes and relocated in hopes of creating a better future for themselves and their families in a setting free of war and uncertainty. Many Iraqis sought refuge in Syria only to find another dangerous situation. Approximately 140,000 of these refugees have immigrated to the U.S., the majority with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and a small memento to remind them of home.

To document their life-changing journey and shed light on the trials and tribulations refugees experience in their search for stability, renowned freelance photographer and author Jim Lommasson has created a project documenting what it means to leave everything behind.

Lommasson invited Iraqi and Syrian refugees to share a personal item significant to their travels to America, such as a family snapshot, heirloom dish or childhood toy. Lommasson photographed each artifact and then returned a 13″ x 19″ archival print to the participant so the item could be contextualized by the owner. Exhibition visitors will receive firsthand insight into the consideration of what objects, images and memories might be chosen if one was forced to leave his home forever.

The carried objects and the intense personal stories behind them combine in more than 85 images that illustrate the common threads that bind all of humanity: the love shared for family, friends and the places people call home. All of the pieces in this exhibition will be presented in both English and Arabic.

The exhibit displays a total of 93 images. The three that are stuck in my mind include a pair of sandals from a 15-year-old who said he never believed they would become like a visa to freedom, a VHS tape of a wedding including images of a father “that would not be known,” and a quilt made of neckties from family relatives.

I walked away from the museum with this thought-history is repeating itself. You learn in the museum that from 1880-1920 another huge migration happened, again because of families seeking refuge, seeking peace.

We Americans are blessed. More deeply, believers in God are blessed. No matter where we live, no matter what the circumstances of life, we can have peace. My prayer is that all people of all nations would find peace in a relationship with God, their Creator, Redeemer, and Peace Giver.