Since 2011, 5.6 million refugees have fled Syria in the wake of one of the most brutal, destructive wars in modern history. Dispersed throughout the entire neighboring region, Syrians have faced poverty, homelessness, and deep struggle as they attempt to survive in areas that are not their country of origin.
Aside from the displacement, lack of financial stability and devastating loss, another aspect that goes too often overlooked is the stripping of culture and familial gathering that comes with refugee life. Traditions like cooking and celebration tend to fall by the wayside in the wake of extreme trauma and separation. So, as our partners in Lebanon work with individual Syrian families to return them home, we are left to reflect on what exactly it is that makes a place home, and how that space can and should be a reflection of the Kingdom.
As a part of their repatriation initiative, Mission ONE partners are assisting refugees in every area of need from paperwork to rebuilding homes, providing supplemental income during times of financial hardship in Lebanon, and of course, the immense amount of prayer needed to re-establish a life after living through such a time.
The Mission ONE partners in Lebanon are currently striving to repatriate five Syrian families. The first and most recent success is about a woman named Iman. She, her husband, and their three children have been working with the team to re-enter their home country. They are seeking to reunite with her husband’s family and restore a sense of normalcy by reconnecting to their culture, their language, and their family.
Iman is a leader of her local church and has been described as a beacon of hope for others in similar positions. She has opened her home to Bible studies on a number of instances and will continue her discipleship as she returns home.
The truth is, there is no place like home when it comes to the best opportunities for sharing God’s word and establishing communities that are more like the Kingdom. When we can open our arms inhospitable joy, share food at our own table, and partake in merriment, glory is restored to even the darkest of places.
So, as Iman, her family, and the Mission ONE partners prayed through difficulties like problems with paperwork and financial strife, they kept their focus on the opportunities that laid ahead:
The chance for Iman to expand her worship and embrace God’s love back home.
Building Global Communities That Reflect the Kingdom
We are proud of the diligent work around the world that Mission ONE partners put in to create communities that are more like the Kingdom. As all of us work to build similar spaces, it’s important that we don’t get wrapped up in what a place looks like, but rather, what a place feels like.
Iman isn’t returning to a pristine, polished, region free from evidence of war and suffering. Quite the opposite, in fact. But it’s what she brings with her that is reflective of the Kingdom, hope, faith, love, happiness, joy, and service. Glory is restored through courageous acts that embody these emotions, not through sparkly surfaces and budding flowers.
As the whole world strives to restore glory in a new year following a truly devastating season, we have to keep these same principles in mind. We have to remember the power of hospitality and the comfort of creating safe and joyful spaces with our families. Moreover, it’s imperative that we hold close to the idea that God’s love is for all. We don’t share His message and wisdom by sending our loved ones to a place. We share it by bringing them into our sphere. We share it by holding the love in our home and allowing any who comes to experience it as we’re certain Iman will do.
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3 Ways to Honor God on Your Next Mission Trip
We're sharing three things you should consider before you organize or participate in an international mission trip, seek to do work in the multicultural neighborhood in your own city, or embark on any cross-cultural partnership.