Monday, April 22, 2013

Befriended

"I don't have a single American friend," Tamerlan Tsarnaev said in a photo essay about his love of boxing. "I don't understand them."
 
Like the rest of America and much of the world, our family was shocked and saddened with the recent bombing at the Boston Marathon. I even recently posted about Team Hoyt, the father and son team that would be running in the Marathon for the 31st time. It was a horrific event that struck at an iconic part of our culture, I am am glad that the perpetrators were quickly located.

But, we were struck by the sentiment expressed above by one of the Tsarnaev brothers. It seems amazing that these two were in the United States for ten or more years and still felt like they did not understand Americans, didn't have any American friends and had nothing but bitterness and anger towards our people and culture.

I am not getting all soft and saying that we shouldn't have hunted them down as ruthlessly as necessary, and I, like many others, would have gladly participated in that search, but I can't help but wonder if it may have been different if his family had a group of people who had taken interest in his family when they first arrived in the country.

We recently had the opportunity to be involved in a group that does just that. The Tucson Refugee Ministry (TRM) helps build bridges between followers of Jesus and newly arrived refugees. Many of whom are followers of Islam. Our involvement consisted of befriending a family that had just arrived here from the Congo, via Burundi. I don't believe our friends would have bombed a marathon on anything, but I like to think that becoming friends with them has helped them understand us and led them to count us as their friends.

 According to TRM:
 Less than 10% of refugees who come to the US will be befriended by an American, let alone a follower of Jesus.

I think it would be a wonderful thing if we could change that number somehow. It might even do something to change the future. 

We just met with the Director, Cherie, today, so this is fresh on my mind. 

Thanks Cherie (and Terri)  for the work you do to change the number of refugees that will be befriended by Americans. And thanks for opening a gateway for our family and a few other families to get to know our new friends. We have been enriched.
 
Check out the Tucson Refugee Ministry to learn a little more.

1 comment:

Dale Sickels said...

That was great James. Thanks!