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Heroes of the Faith–Friends of Refugees

05/21/2012

Living in Thailand these past few years has increased my appreciation for the condition of immigrants. While my circumstances are not extremely difficult, it is a struggle learning to live in a foreign land. There are so many rules and laws and customs of which I am unaware. It is a beating trying to get a driver’s license or a visa renewed. Plus, my long-time community of friends and family are not around to help out. That makes living here a challenge at times.

This experience has made me more sympathetic to the challenges facing immigrants, and refugees in particular. I can only imagine what it feels like for a person to move to a new land, seeking peace and asylum, and then be greeted by language barriers, bureaucracy, loneliness, unemployment, and discrimination. It is wearisome to live on a steady diet of frustration and hopelessness. And, thus, I am sure it is a great joy when that rare person steps out and offers love, help, and companionship in the midst of an overwhelming situation.

In light of that, when it comes to my heroes in the faith, I immediately think of people who are willing to disrupt their lives in order to bring peace into the lives of refugees. This is a great work, and these are great people. I am extremely grateful for people like Jonathan and Jessica Goudeau, Chad and Summer Walters, and Jody and Donna Lee. In the midst of full-time jobs and raising families, they have given up countless hours to bring some good news to strangers in a foreign land. They have provided employment opportunities, taught English, housed children, welcomed them at church, provided meals and much more. They embody radical hospitality in a world of self-reliance and independence. For them, and for others like them, I thank God because caring for a refugee is as close to the heart of God as anything I can think of. I will surely follow people like this.

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