A refrigerator. Mattresses. 5 sheep. A washing machine. A television. Heat. Pillows. An oven. Medical care. Clothing. Formula. Removal of an infected tooth for little Bailsan. Blankets. Shoes. Toys. Food. Cell phones.
These are the items we have been able to purchase for Metheb, Amina, and their family.
I will never forget standing in my kitchen with my friend Jina on Ash Wednesday and knowing I had to do something to support efforts to help Syrian refugees, now. For years, I had been wringing my hands. Praying, but feeling overwhelmed by the amount of suffering and unsure of what I could do to really make a difference.
And then, I found Humanwire and a photo of a mother with two children close in age and a baby in the way. And through her hijab and beautiful dark eyes, I saw something of myself. I knew this was my way to help.
So, we started a campaign and set a fundraising goal that seemed unattainable. Then, came the fear. Refugees have (unfairly!) become a political issue and I worried that no one would help with the campaign. I feared that people would say mean things and mock our attempt to help and question why we care about people if a different religion across the world when there are Christians suffering in our own back yards.
But, for the most part, my fears were misplaced. And people began donating. My friends and complete strangers. Rich and poor. From all geographic areas and educational backgrounds.
Now, 100 days later, $10 here and $100 there from — people made my wish for Amina’s family a reality.
And while these tangible items were needed and important, I do not believe they were the real gift. As Metheb explained to me last week, the real gift, my friends, was hope.
Hope for Metheb, Amina, and their family. Hope for a better life. A home of their own in a land that is not. Hope of a long-term way to support themselves. Possessions like the ones they were forced to leave behind when they decided they had to flee. Hope that even though many families had applied, there would be a family in Texas who loves people and Jesus chose them, even though they had never met and the similarities seemed few. Hope of a better life in the midst of the worst circumstances.
And, here in America, I’ve been given that same gift. Hope that there was some way to help even one family on the ground. Hope that other people felt the same calling as I did. Hope that despite our differences, we can communicate and care and give. Hope that God could use my little family in our little town to make a difference.
We gave the gift of hope. And my bet is that we all–from Amina and her family to each person who donated a single dollar–will leave this project changed.
Hope. In a world that seems so hard and broken. Hope. In a situation that seems so helpless. Hope. What a gift.
Our campaign is ongoing. We are hoping to continue raising money for the family and plan to stay in contact with them forever. If you would like to join us in our efforts, here is our fundraising page. If you would like to start a campaign for a family of your own, here is the list of causes and I am happy to help you set it up. I also promise to be your first donation!
Also, Metheb and Amina absolutely love talking with folks who have donated to help them, so if you have any desire to have a Skype call with them, let me know and I will be glad to help you do that! They also have What’s App and we are now chatting and sending photos all the time, so I’ll be glad to get you their info if you’d like to chat with them as well.