Give Peace a Chance
The refugee crisis that is filling the news was just coming into the public consciousness when we finished the draft of our book (I always told my students that a book take a long time to write and publish--and I can testify from personal experience!). I wish now that we'd devoted more space to the families that have been so devastated by their flight from their homes. Ah, hindsight. With this platform, though, I hope we can highlight some ways that we can reach out to those who are suffering.
One thing individuals and churches can do is volunteer with their local refugee resettlement agency. Our church has recently started a team that works with Interfaith Refugee Ministry, but the Office of Refugee Resettlement provides links to all of the resettlement agencies in the U.S. Our team is working with a group of Congolese refugees, many of whom have spent nearly 15 years in a refugee camp in Rwanda. We are trying to help them orient to life in the U.S.: teaching them English, taking them for groceries and medical appointments, enrolling the children in school, and introducing them to American customs.
I recently was certified to teach and tutor English as a Second Language, and this week I took one young mom and her two preschool daughters, Peace and Chance, to an ESL class. She's very bright and eager to learn this new language, so I'm also tutoring her. I spent part of the class, though, playing with the girls in the church nursery. They're sweet as can be, and clearly overwhelmed by the sheer number of toys and books at their disposal. We can't communicate much with words, so I smile a lot, and they enjoy hugs. Given their names, I kept hearing John Lennon singing "give peace a chance..." in my head as I watched them play, and I am so very thankful that this Peace and Chance are now embarking on their new lives.