Shaken and Enriched

This year, 2018, will be our thirteenth year of working as an organization with displaced people. As I look back at those years, I remember them with joy and sorrow. They were full of rejoicing and mourning. This is life. This is how the EKG reads that we are alive; the sharp ups and downs.  

Last week actress and UN Goodwill Ambassador Cate Blanchett spoke of how her life has been “shaken and enriched” by hearing the stories of refugees: 

“Shaken by the scale of the ever-growing displacement crisis, from Syria to South Sudan, to Bangladesh … Shaken by the moving individual stories of tragedy that lie behind the vast numbers. But enriched too by the privilege of meeting refugee families who have shown the most incredible resilience, dignity and generosity in the face of unfathomable circumstances. Once you have borne witness, you cannot turn away.”  (UNHCR, 2018)

We agree. Almost seventeen years ago we saw people on the run and heard their stories. We saw their gratitude for us coming and helping and for listening to their plight.  Our eyes were opened to horrible atrocities in the world and opened to the resilience of humans. It changed us. We couldn’t see them, hear them and turn away. 

We read in Psalms that God promised to be a refuge in times of war and disaster. So leaning hard on that promise, we extended our hands and our lives to help. Powered by the belief that these people were also made in the image of their Creator and  deserve the same dignity and right to pursue their inherent purpose for their time on earth, we started Global Refuge.  

Currently there are over 65 million people just like those whom we saw in 2001, on the run from war around the world. This number is larger than ever before in recorded history. In 2016, only 189,000 of them were resettled in other countries. Therefore millions remain without a place to call home, many for more than 20 years. (UNHCR, 2017) 

These numbers can seem overwhelming. The needs around the globe and even in our cities are overwhelming. 

However, being overwhelmed won't do anything to change the situations that all of these people face. So, we believe this year demands boldness from us, and from all of you. We must be bold in our action, in our voice, in our defense of the poor and the exploited. 

We see so much money being spent in the name of the suffering people in our world, but why are things not improving? We are committed to seeing real transformation in the lives of those that most of the world sees as less valuable. We want to dream boldly that Global Refuge won't have any more work to do in the future because displaced people are rebuilding their lives! 

We need your help this year, to aim for dynamic change. We will do everything we can to provide ways that you can join us in the U.S. and internationally, and we will ask you from time to time to give what you can to make it all work.  

So, in 2018 we are going to take the huge needs on boldly. Boldly with  a loud voice and a kind heart. Personally, I want to spend more time with the refugees in my city. It is a place to start. And then corporately, we are going to advocate for those who are currently in a state of crisis around the world. It is not only our duty as humans, but our joy. 

Shaunessy McNeely
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