Reconciliation is the hope of the world

Posted by Matt Lane on November 27th, 2017 filed in Christian Living, Church, Jordan Refugees
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Some things are so broke that the path to fix them is so complicated that humanly speaking, there isn’t a lot of hope. Having recently visited the Middle East and specifically Jordan, to fix the refugee issues in the region is virtually impossible. The deep seated issues between different groups are centuries old and are not going to be solved with a simple solution. Eradicating ISIS from the region is also not an easy task. How to support all the refugees WHILE a solution is put in place is almost just as impossible.

But in the midst of all of that, there is hope. There IS a solution. 2 Corinthians 5:19 says “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, “. There it is. God is restoring harmony between the world and himself through Jesus. How? Through Jesus the payment was paid and he doesn’t count our sin against us. We Christians have been given this message of reconciliation. We are to be his ambassadors with this message.

I can’t imagine what it would take to forgive those that have zealously persecuted you. Knowing that a people group left you with nothing would weigh heavily on you. Knowing that they were responsible for the murder of your child would be crushing. How much it would cost you personally to give up and move forward. To not want revenge. To not want any retribution in any way. What would that cost? What would it cost emotionally? What would it cost psychologically? Forgiveness is not free. It’s incredibly costly and I don’t have any idea what it would be like to even contemplate it. In my middle class social-economic environment, I can’t relate in any way.

But, the message that I have been given is the SAME message that has been given to the Iraqi Christian refugees. Reconciliation through Christ. To God and others.

Like other tough situations, it’s difficult to ask someone to choose the hard path. Especially a path that I can’t identify with. However, the depth of verse 21 compels us to the message of reconciliation and while we might want a different option, it is the only hope of the world.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

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Existing to wait

Posted by Matt Lane on November 13th, 2017 filed in Christian Living, Jordan Refugees
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The Iraqi Christians living in Jordan are incredibly strong people. They have suffered unspeakably horrors and many have fled from more than one place. Today they wait to be let into a country that will allow them to thrive. Until then, often they are existing to wait. Wait for the one call that will ultimately change their lives forever. Wait for the next contact from someone that will provide a critical need. Wait for someone from somewhere to deliver hope to them. One family we visited today has been waiting for 3 years! 3 long years waiting for the call. Waiting to start their lives again. Waiting to be in a place where their children can go to school and have a future. Waiting for a chance to once again provide for their families in the way God has equipped them. Waiting for their tiredness to end.

Most Iraqi families are trying hard to thrive in the midst. We ate lunch with a family today and it clearly was a joy for them to show hospitality. The father is a chef and took great pride in making an Iraqi meal for us. They were all so appreciative of us coming to visit them so that they know SOMEONE cares. That SOMEONE will see that they exist. Do you get that? They were blessed by us coming to THEM. Unbelievable. They were such a gift to us and the joy they had in the midst was absolutely inspiring.

I honestly have no place in my brain for the hardships these people have gone through and continue to go through. All they want is to be in a place where they can work and live peaceably.

It’s really not much different than what anyone desires but for them and for now, they exist to wait.

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Less than refugees

Posted by Matt Lane on November 11th, 2017 filed in Church
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I spent the day visiting with 5 Iraqi families. We were honored to hear their stories and listen to what they’ve been through. Every story is unique and every story is a punch in the gut emotionally. These families have next to nothing. They cannot work although they would in a second if given permission but the government won’t let them. Most live off of the charitable gifts of others. They can’t go back home to Iraq because it’s too dangerous from either ISIS or other ethic fighting. They are here in Jordan with walking around papers only. They are all applying to be refugees and often that takes years! Really unbelievable situation. They are refugees but legally they are not. Schools are hardly available to the kids and hope of being accepted to another country is slim. It’s pretty a bleak situation.

These Christian Iraqis are in a extremely difficult position. No one wants them. EVERYONE we talked to today was a skilled laborer. Yet if they get caught working it’s 1000’s of dollars in fines for them and the person who hired them. They can’t drive and have no cars. In Iraq, many were middle class, some even upper class. Now because of nothing they have done, they sit in a tiny apartment with no heat and are prisoners of circumstance.

It was such a gift to see these families! One house we visited had a bunch of young girls there. The smiles they had and the laughter they gave us was priceless. In their situation they still found a way to cheer us up! They were just so full of life. Don’t get me wrong, there was a range of emotions but there was genuine laughter and it was pure gold.

We left every house with two large bags of groceries and the kids with a bunch of toys. It’s not much but they for sure need all the help they can get.

I’m totally wrecked and it’s only the first day.

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