On a brutally cold and foggy Friday afternoon, our local sponsorship group welcomed our new Syrian friends to our city in Canada. Several times as I was driving them from the airport to the home we had prepared for them, I wondered what must have going through their minds as they looked out on the frosty white scenes that greeted them. Have they dropped us off at the North Pole?!
I couldn’t ask them what they were thinking, of course, because I speak zero Arabic and they speak next to no English.
Sometimes, when I find it hard to pray, when faith, hope, and love are threatening to dry up, I zero in on a handful of desperate pleas from a handful of desperate people who come across Jesus in the Gospels.
On the way in to work one day, I listened to a radio interview with Anas Al Abdullah, a Syrian refugee who had recently arrived in Toronto. It was wonderful to hear about what the experience had been like for him during his first week in Canada. It was heartbreaking to hear about what he had endured. It was moving to hear about the longing he felt for family members who will be arriving in Canada shortly. It was inspiring to hear about the sponsorship group in Toronto and the ways in which they had prepared for Anas’s arrival and how they had walked with him during his first days in this strange new land.
And it was impossible to hear Anas’s story without thinking of our own situation here in Lethbridge, Alberta.
I was sitting in a hospital room one morning with a dear old saint whose last few years have involved being shuffled from home to home, to the hospital and back again, and whose next destination is unclear. At one point, this person looked at me with a mixture of sadness, resignation, and nearly defeated longing and said, “I’m a person with no address.”