The Refugee Journey – Why am I Writing This Blog?

 "Moments of Mourn For Alan Kurdi DI September 2015" by Defend International - Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

A beach memorial for Alan Kurdi and other refugees. Kurdi, 3 years old, drowned in the Mediterranean Sea.

– first published January 18, 2016
¿Porque estoy escribiendo este Blog?

The picture of Alan Kurdi, the dead Syrian toddler, who washed ashore in Turkey, held in the arms of a Turkish policeman, sent shock waves throughout the world and opened people’s eyes to the horrors of the Syrian refugee crisis.

Why am I writing this blog?

Our purpose at Global Initiative is not to engage in the political debate whether or not refugees should come to the United States, but to highlight this incredible opportunity for Christians and churches to show the love of Jesus to those who arrive in our neighborhoods from war-torn lands. Journeys of desperation, trauma, fear, and loss mark their search for freedom and a new life. Global Initiative: Reaching Muslim Peoples exists to equip the church to reach Muslims with the gospel of Jesus Christ, who alone gives true freedom and a new life.

In the mid 1980’s Vietnamese and Afghan refugees fleeing war in their countries settled in neighborhoods around our church in Arlington, Virginia. A poster from the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) hung in my church office picturing a forlorn woman in a refugee camp, with her head in her hands. The haunting caption read, “A refugee would love to have your problems.” It was a daily reminder that many people in the world live in the midst of war, grinding poverty, difficult circumstances, and hopeless situations. One day, any of us could be a refugee.*

In those years, I picked up Vietnamese kids in a van and brought them to Sunday school. They lived in an apartment complex where you recognized the nationality of the people living there by the wonderful smells of food wafting under the doors: Indian, Afghan, Salvadorian, Vietnamese, and Korean. The International Ministry at Arlington Assembly of God hosted regular International Potluck Dinners inviting people for food and fellowship. Everyone feasted on the delicious cuisine proudly prepared by each nationality. We made new friends. The dinners and the church grew. A foretaste of heaven!

In Pakistan in the 90’s I met Iranian Christian refugees who had horror stories of their flight from religious persecution in search of freedom to worship God. They were taken advantage of by unscrupulous smugglers, uncertain of whom to trust. They waited for God, the UNHCR and foreign governments to decide their future, without knowing how long they would have to wait, exhibiting far more patience, grace and trust in God than I would have been able to muster. I learned so much from them over meals, tea and times of prayer together. They appreciated freedom in a way that those of us who have always had it, take for granted.

Through this 10-Day Refugee Journey we will share resources, such as articles written by our team, books and websites to deepen your understanding of Islam and Muslims, and suggest ways that you and your church can personally share the love of Jesus with your Muslim refugee neighbor.


*A refugee, according to the 1951 United Nations Convention definition, is “someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.” 

** For further information on the background of the Syrian Crisis see “Syria in Crisis” by Harry Morin (Intercede Nov/Dec 2012).

Photo attribution: “Moments of Mourn For Alan Kurdi DI September 2015” by Defend International – Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

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2 Responses to “The Refugee Journey – Why am I Writing This Blog?”

  1. Lamond Banks says:

    Powerful…may we be the Church …to extend our hands to to their loves!

  2. Lamond Banks says:

    To touch their lives

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