Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Plenty To Be Thankful For

As we celebrate this Thanksgiving, those of us in America certainly have a lot to be thankful for. We have freedoms most of the world's inhabitants can only dream about. We have security and peace of mind that the vast majority of the world will never experience. The video below is an emotional reminder of the blessings we so often take for granted.

From FaithWire:
The story began back in 2012 when a Sudanese woman showed up in Forth Worth, Texas, pregnant and with her two small children. Her husband couldn’t make the trip, unable to leave the refugee camp because the couple had lost their marriage papers while fleeing war. They had to find a way to prove they were married and that the children were indeed his. The man, Dyan, feared he would never see his family again.


Here's more from the publisher of the video:
This video represents the next chapter in the now near four-year-old story of our church's ministry to refugees in a North Fort Worth complex. A ministry that began with two of our elder wives, Mary Claire and Molly coming alongside the Sudanese woman in this video, now has over a hundred vetted volunteers serving the diaspora in our region. And, hundreds more participating annually in coat drives, back pack drives, and many opportunities through the year to engage with these families around food and fun.

Xenophobia is nowhere in the heart of God. He is all about the nations! And, His people are called to be as well. For me, this video is a testament to what can happen when God's people respond in simple, yet sacrificial obedience to God's call on the Church, His Bride, to engage and embrace people of all tongues and tribes.

There are nuances in this video most people will miss that to me signal the fingerprint of God. One of them for me is the advertising display hanging over the baggage carousel in the background of the shot when Dyan embraces his wife for the first time in four years. Though many ads were looping endlessly on that monitor, at that very moment the ad read, "Where Dreams take their Course". Another special moment for me was when Dyan dropped to the floor overwhelmed in gratitude toward God, and my camera POV inadvertently became the POV of his three children, at times framed by the side of his son's head. In the background of that shot you see Mary Claire and Molly's husbands with their four sons, American playmates of Dyan's children, transfixed on the miracle for which they themselves prayed these past years.

The final image of this video of Dyan embracing His son, is framed by Mary Claire and Molly's tearful faces. In the distant background is an Algerian refugee family who had just arrived with Dyan. The man with them in the maroon shirt is a staffer for World Relief, another refugee ministry in Fort Worth with whom we serve. A piece of the video that remains in my minds eye, yet in the interest of time lies on the cutting room floor, is a moment when this Algerian mom in the hijab goes over to Dyan's wife and embraces her, greeting each of her children with encouraging words offered in a mutual tongue they share, but which I didn't recognize. What I did recognize however was a shared joy emerging from a shared pain and anguish. And that my friends is the ultimate and beautiful paradox of this four minute glimpse into a shared four-year experience. May this video help you share in their joy and worship the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the Joy set before Him endured the cross that the nations might come to enjoy Him forever.

To paraphrase the Irving Berlin song sung by Bing Crosby in the movie Holiday Inn, "We've got plenty to be thankful for." Have a happy Thanksgiving.

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