We were caught in No Man’s Land. Men, pregnant women, and children were all on their hands and knees, crawling across the Jordan and Syrian wilderness as rebel bullets whizzed over our heads. We just had to reach the Jordanian military vehicles. If only we could get there, we would be safe. There is something […]
In between my stays in Jordan and Athens, I have decided to make a three day stop in Rome to rest and write (and work with African refugees one day). When I was sitting in my favorite Sicilian restaurant, Melo, near the Roman Forum, I was drinking some fine Italian wine and reading Wendell Berry’s […]
The crisis in Syria began in March of 2011 after a series of protests in the capital city of Damascus turned violent. During the years leading up to the war, the government unjustly tossed civil rights activists, political dissidents, and ethnic minorities in jail, and the people were ready for the democratic changes the Assad […]
Today’s the day I head east for my trip to serve the displaced overseas and collect the stories of those I meet along the way. During the past few summers, I have spent much of my time leading mission trips and pilgrimages for church groups from all sorts of denominations and backgrounds.
Before the first trip I would lead, I would rummage around my room trying to find my small, black, Patagonia man-purse. I carried this bag with me at all times on my trips. My life resided in that bag — in more ways than one — and it stayed forever perched on my hip for the summer months.
Necessary paperwork and a few books would be jammed inside, but nestled in the flap pocket was (and is) a Russian pilgrimage icon. It was given to me and blessed by an Anglican priest in Moscow one summer when I took my own pilgrimage of sorts to Mother Russia.
In the midst of my busy travels and a weary soul, my distraught hand would brush up or lay absently upon the icon which was located perfectly on the outside of my bag, and my bag was located perfectly on my right hip. A quick jolt of God’s mercy would shoot from the hidden icon, through my tired hands, and to the fatigued places of my soul. It would strengthen me and remind me — You can do this. I am with you. Don’t forget. I am indeed good.
As I am about to board a plane to places I have never been, to be with people (for the majority of my trip) I don’t know, and called to do a work I am utterly incapable of doing, I place my hand of the icon and remember:
Oh yes, You are good.
Therefore, the story below is the story of how the icon became a symbol and a means of God’s goodness in my life. A reminder I will need each day of this journey.
I received a book recommendation the other day with the following subtitle: “How to lead Muslims to Christ Now!” I had many thoughts (mostly unkind ones) when I saw the subtitle of this book on Amazon, but one word explicitly came to mind: Evangelism. I hate to say it, but I cringe at the word. […]
First Things magazine had a nice article yesterday detailing the impact of the Gospel amongst the refugee community in Europe. Within the article there are links to other reputable sources discussing the phenomena from both the perspectives of the refugees and the ministers who are seeing the conversions. I would encourage you to check it out. […]
The baggage claim area was virtually empty. A few travelers waited wearily for their bags or their rides amongst the cold chairs which lined the bare and translucent walls. I stared intently at the arrival monitor, glistening in contrast to the darkness of the near midnight sky which was at odds with the fluorescent light. […]