“It’s just because people are introducing so many chemicals into their systems,” she insisted. “If people go back to using non-toxic, natural plant-based products, we’ll stop seeing these chronic conditions.” I sat in a living room with half a dozen other women and listened to a sales representative from a large essential oils company guarantee that their products could heal anything that ailed us. She read us an excerpt from the memoir of a woman, “just like us,” she said, who had cured a brain tumor with 5ml glass bottles of pure plant elixir.Read More
This week, after a semester away, I resumed my MA studies in international refugee law. This term, I’m taking a course called “Asylum and Refugees in Africa and Latin America.” Interesting timing, I thought, considering the firestorm of media attention turned toward the caravan of Central American migrants and asylum seekers this week. My heart has grown more and more burdened as I see words like “onslaught”, “invasion”, and “horde” used to describe these families, while I’m also learning that Central American countries like El Salvador and Honduras have rates of violent crime second only to Syria.Read More
I was loving my neighbor, but I hated myself. What I really needed to learn was how to love myself as I loved my neighbor. I needed to learn to extend the same compassion to my own broken body as I strived to do for others. I needed to learn that the grace I offered to everyone else when they needed to rest was also available to me. If I couldn’t learn how to love myself, I soon wouldn’t have anything left to love my neighbor.Read More
Over the past week, the news has been dominated by Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation for the Supreme Court. But while the country is focused on this important issue, another significant one may pass by unnoticed.
Today, September 30, marks the end of the Federal Fiscal Year. At this time each year, the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program resets and the President decides how many refugees will be accepted into the U.S. for the following year. But this year, due to the Supreme Court nomination, the decision on refugee resettlement has been delayed. Why is this the case? Well, here’s what the Supreme Court nomination and refugee resettlement have in common.Read More
If you have visited this little corner of the internet before, you probably knew it as FaithandForcedMigration.com. For several years I wrote here almost exclusively about refugees and immigration, and how Christians can respond biblically to the challenges of forced migration in the world. You can find links to a lot of those thoughts organized on my resource page.
Recently, though, life experiences have led me to expand the boundaries of what I discuss through the words I write here. I have lived with fibromyalgia a chronic pain condition, since I was 16, and along with it has come challenges with anxiety and depression. I believe this messiness in my own story gives me a unique perspective on the world, and I am convinced to keep chasing beauty in the midst of difficulty.Read More
Twitter is not real life, I remind myself as I spend my lunch break scrolling through feeds often filled with vitriol and rage, where the loudest voices appear to be the most numerous. After a disheartening foray into a world where anyone can share their hate-filled opinions without the accountability of human contact, I return to my desk. I return to telling the stories of resilient immigrants and courageous refugees, and the selfless compassion of churches and individuals who sacrifice their time, talent, and resources to welcome them into their communities.
I look up from my keyboard and out into the parking lot. I see an older white man, probably in his sixties, gingerly toting a covered infant car seat toward the building entrance. He pauses to glance behind himself, and from behind a parked car hurries a petite African woman, a length of bright floral fabric carefully wrapped and tucked around her waist. She catches up to the elderly man, and together they walk inside for an appointment with a caseworker.
This is the story I am invested in telling, the story of strangers becoming family, unexpected and beautiful.Read More