Wow, welcome back. Its been a while, but I have mostly been posting over at Facebook and Instagram. Its not like there isn’t a lot to say, I have just enjoyed posting small updates with images that back what we are up to. It’s Christmas time, and lots has been going on, so I figured this would be the perfect venue to share.
On Wednesday, September 2, 2015, the world was, for the most part, unaware and unengaged with the refugee crises in Syria, or any refugee crisis happening in the world. This all changed when on September 2, 2015, three-year-old Aylan Kurdi’s young body washed up on a beach in Turkey. Images of the boy wearing a red shirt, shorts and sneakers, lying face down in the sand were plastered all over Twitter, Facebook, and news media. Other images showed a rescue worker carrying the lifeless body of Kurdi across the sand. Kurdi and his family were crossing Turkey, hoping to reach Europe and then move on to Canada where his sister worked as a hairdresser. The boat that the family was on capsized, and Abdulla, the boy’s father, lost both of his children and his wife in the accident.
Within 24 hours the Twitter hashtag #kiyiyavuraninsanlik, which is a Turkish phrase meaning “humanity washed up ashore,” was used on Twitter 200,000 times. All of a sudden this lifeless little boy brought awareness to the world of the refugee crisis. From then on, there were daily reports, updates, images and stories of people fleeing their homes in boats to reach Greece and to be resettled across Europe.
In the months that followed Kurdi’s body washing up on shore, it was a regular occurrence to read about more boats capsizing, and loss of life as more people crossed more people crossing the Sea for freedom. As a result, campaigns started in the United States and other countries to respond to the crisis, either welcoming refugees or lobbying to keep them out.
Since that day, 15 months ago, I have been anxious to befriend and connect with the Syrian community. Over the past five months, since moving to San Diego, our family has been doing just that. There is so much to write, but since it’s Christmas, I will share what we were apart of last Saturday, December 17.
Steps of Justice, the non-profit help run, hosted a Christmas party for the Syrian refugees in our city. Over the past five months we have been hosting regular events for these new neighbors of ours, which led up to this Christmas party. There are over 1,400 Syrians in our city, so we were not sure how many were going to show up, but by the end of the evening we had over 150 Syrians there, some who have lived here for years, some who have only been here for weeks. We also had over 100 volunteers from the Muslim and Christian community.
During the five hour party we danced, ate lots of food, took countless pictures, played Kurdish music, and shared the story of Christmas and how Jesus came to earth to spread the peace of God. Many of my friends were there, seen in the picture above, and many new friendships were made. It was an honor to help put this event on. We worked with the Christian and Muslim community to serve our new neighbors, it was a beautiful thing to work together.
Our prayer is that these relationships would continue. I am blessed to spend five days a week working primarily in a neighborhood that hosts many of the Syrian families, so I get to see these families often. My prayer is that they would see the love of Jesus for them, and not just see Jesus as a western religion. Please keep us in your prayers and at any time, please feel fee to connect with us if you have thought, questions or just encouragement.