Field notes, perspectives, stories, news & announcements
January 21, 2022
It was humbling to see the faces of the students on Tuesday, recognizing that more than a decade after the outbreak of war in Syria several of the course participants live in contexts where many of their neighbors are refugees. Some students have themselves been forced to flee their homes because of the unrest in the region, yet they turn to help others on the way.
The training was supposed to have a dozen to maybe 16 participants by design, but the staff at the MENA Leadership Center quickly received twice as many requests to join the class. They struggled to say no to people who are doing difficult work in countries that have been totally reordered by waves of forced migration.
Rachel asked the students to name the questions they hear most often from refugees. Their responses were all too familiar, echoing the cries of people stranded with no human solution to their displacement, whether they find themselves in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, or even here in the USA.
Why did God allow this?
Where is God in this mess?
What is our future?
How can we recover from the pain and problems we have now?
Why is there no way forward for us?
Is there any hope?
Their questions sound a lot like the laments in the Bible.
Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?
Would you join with these precious people in prayer for God’s intervention in the lives of uprooted people, stuck in refugee contexts around the world?
As you do, please remember to pray for those who labor to offer small acts of kindness and welcome and who patiently listen to these cries of pain day in and day out - including our IAFR teammates serving along the refugee highway.
- Post by Rachel Uthmann, IAFR Director of Training
We believe that followers of Jesus and their local communities of faith should be at the forefront of welcoming and rehumanizing marginalized people. The God we worship sees, hears, and cares deeply for them. And so must we.
That's why we offer training and consulting to churches, agencies, networks, and individuals who care about the welfare of forcibly displaced people.
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- Rachel Uthmann with Tom AlbinsonBack to the Blog