(For the privacy and dignity of the individual, this photo does not show the person mentioned in the story.)
Refugees and internally displaced persons are people just like you and me who have had unimaginably complicated circumstances befall their families. Often, they are unexpectedly forced to flee their homes and countries with little more than what they can carry and have to start new lives in foreign countries and unfamiliar cultures. On an individual level, the resilience of this community is captured well in Abdallah’s journey to freedom:
Abdallah was a respected military officer with a formal education and extensive international experience when he was forced to flee from his home on a small boat with 70 of his fellow countrymen. Upon arrival in a foreign nation, his university degree became obsolete; his social status was lost, and his quality of life plummeted as he was placed in a camp with over 600 other people.
In an attempt to boost general morale, Abdallah started looking for a restaurant that served his national food; it had been 2-3 years since anyone in their group had eaten a dish that tasted like home. A Send Relief partner heard of Abdallah’s quest for familiar cuisine and began helping him with the search. Abdallah was taken aback that an “infidel” was so willing to offer help in an attempt to bring joy back to his community. He previously had been suspicious of Christians and others not from his own people group. This stranger’s intentional involvement in his life was transformative for Abdallah’s wary outlook: “Our brothers didn’t come to help us; the infidel came to help us.” Through this continued collaborative relationship, Abdallah was able to become a part of a community that incorporated people from all socio-economic backgrounds and various faiths, all the while continuing his pursuit of asylum status in other countries.
Through a series of unfortunate circumstances that appeared irredeemable, Abdallah then met a woman who shared his convictions for helping fellow refugees and people in need thrive in their new environment. The two had similar visions for what advocating for “the least of these” involved and were soon married and following their callings together as pillars of the community.
Abdallah and his wife still face difficulties but have chosen a life of joy that incorporates the pain they have both faced with their conviction that a greater glory awaits them. This is just one example of how the love of God is at work in the hearts and minds of displaced people groups. You can help more refugees like Abdallah by donating today.
Published August 12, 2019