Responding to the Refugee Crisis

When I first started my “Seek the Good” project, it began with a dream to find voices that needed to be heard, to put a megaphone where there had been none, in order to pierce the darkness in our world with light–with hope. Something was stirring in my heart to tell meaningful stories  locally and internationally, and now that dream is becoming a reality.  Let me fill you in on what my Spring will look like…

This December I was asked to join a team working to mobilize locals, aid-workers, missionaries, etc. across Europe to care for refugees in the midst of this historic human migration. If you aren’t aware of what is happening across the Middle East and Europe, I encourage you to start paying attention. Ever since the start of the Syrian civil war, over 11 million Syrians have been killed or forced to flee their country  (that is over half of the country’s entire population). Many have turned to neighboring countries and a growing few are turning to Europe for refuge. And it’s not just Syrians. By the end of 2015, Europe surpassed the 1 million mark of people (Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis, etc.) fleeing their war-torn countries and seeking safety on European shores. The video below powerfully represents the humanity of this crisis.

Many of the relief efforts up until now have been slow to start, but full of sincerity in their efforts to meet the complex needs of this migration. Some of the “big fish” in the humanitarian pond like the UNHCR and Red Cross are already working with refugees, but this issue is too big to be left to large (and often slow-moving) organizations alone. In order to meet the immediate and long-term needs of our brothers and sisters moving to Europe, we need a movement of ordinary people, locals, and churches.

That is where the team I’m joining is hoping to step in. Starting in February a small research team and I will be traveling from Greece to Germany/Denmark along Europe’s refugee highway in order to face this crisis head-on.

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Project: Seek the Good

In the past few weeks I have been asking myself a lot of big questions…

“What does it mean to be a ‘successful’ 20-something just out of university?”

“What is up with all of my friends suddenly getting engaged and married?”

“Does Ryan Seacrest even age?” (Okay, not totally relevant, but just as perplexing.)

But most importantly, I’ve been asking two central questions: If I was doing what I feel I was made for (no limitations), what would that be? And how do I best use my skills and passions in this season of life to give back? Truth be told, I think we often answer questions like these rashly or we give some “canned” answer that sounds great without intending to follow through. I’ve done both, but I wanted to dig deeper. For some reason I felt like these answers should be so easy to find, yet I quickly learned that finding definitive answers to these questions was more like walking through wet cement than a walk in the park.

However, as I’ve slowly waded through these questions one idea has consistently popped up–an idea for telling stories–specifically stories of people working to impact communities on the margins of society.

Considering how much of the media focuses on the darkness and danger in the world, I started asking myself what it would look like to spread the opposite–hope. So much of my life has been built upon the desire to see the good in others and to find hope in a hopeless situation. From the slums in Kenya to the streets of Seattle, I believe there are stories of joy and hope all over the place. The question is not, “do they exist?,” but, “how do we find them?”

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