Why I Stand with Refugees (and How You Can Too)

I don’t know about you, but the political changes and news headlines in 2017 were enough to give me a chronic headache. Especially those concerning the refugee crisis. As the year progressed, fear seemed to became the winning narrative, and indifference the easy way out. Yet as we stand with one foot in 2017 and one in 2018, reflecting on how our response toward refugees has shifted, let’s not forget who we harm when we succumb to misplaced fear and indifference. The refugees our world continues to argue over are not monsters, pawns, nor mere political “annoyances.” They are real people with dreams, passions, skills, fears, and hopes–just like you and me. The one major difference being that they are fleeing war and persecution.

In 2016 I traveled through seven European countries alongside the people photographed below to learn the truth behind this crisis. I discovered the names and stories of every person you see here, and in doing so I learned to see each of them as friends and allies. These are the faces and characteristics of individuals who forever changed the way I view refugee/immigration policy. Their stories taught me the importance of how we treat one another, especially those who are heartsick from long and painful journeys to find peace.

I pray that when you look into the faces of these refugees you will see yourself reflected in their eyes. I certainly do. Read on, or scroll to the bottom to learn how you can practically respond (this includes a letter-writing initiative for local refugees that you can participate in)!

These are the reasons I stand with refugees…

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What Adventure Does

“Most great adventures work that way. You don’t plan them, you don’t get all the details right, you just do them.” -Bob Goff, Love Does

Think about a book you love. A story treasured from one generation to the next; one so powerful it offers readers insight each year it’s read.

Stories like those have a funny way of sticking to your heart, like snow on frozen ground. Yet it often seems hard to decipher what qualities connect them all to greatness. Is it a complex prose? Captivating dialogue? Or, a meticulously planned storyline?

Maybe.

But when I think of my all-time favorite stories (like Harry Potter, The Alchemist, or the Narnia series), the common theme I find is the unexpected adventure their characters find themselves in.

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Scary-Beautiful Change

Let me be honest; I’m not a fan of change. You see, I celebrate some changes–like new seasons and scenery–I just hate when change penetrates deep enough to affect my “constants.”

We all have things in our lives that we think of as constants; our childhood homes, families, friendships, even our annual vacation spots. We hold these portions of our lives close to our heart because they can often seem unchangeable in world that is constantly changing. However normal this tendency may seem, I am learning that this is no way to really live.

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Let Me Introduce Myself

Photo by Courtney Bowlden

(photo by Courtney Bowlden)

Who am I? Those three words combine to create a loaded question that few dare to ask and even fewer take time to thoughtfully answer. But don’t worry, I won’t hit you with that one just yet. The purpose of this post is to act as a little introduction. Whether you are reading this for the first time on your phone, in line at a coffee shop, or you merely stumbled across my blog while procrastinating from work (don’t worry, it can wait), let me just say…

Hello and welcome to my new blog, “See, Hear, Explore,”–but you can call it S.H.E. for short!

For years I have had the itch to write, and it is a passion I have indulged sporadically with a travel/personal blog I kept my last two summers in Eastern Europe and through a stack of old journals currently stuffed under my bed. I have shared bits and pieces of my life with the World Wide Web, yet recently yearned to have a single, consistent place to share my thoughts, dreams, stories, and faith in a blog that flows like a journal. I wanted to create this blog so that you can all walk along side me as I experience life the way I truly believe it to be; a grand adventure.

So what inspired the name, “See, Hear, Explore?”

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