Friday, February 10, 2012

A Lifetime of Learning

It's been over 4 years since I became part of the Welcome Home team, serving refugees from all over the world right here in downtown Kitchener, Ontario.  What an amazingly full and stretching time these years have been!

Right from day one, however, I knew that although I had lots of training and a heart full of love, I was missing a significant piece of my equipping to be a full-time missionary to refugees.   You see, I’ve never been to Africa or the Middle East, where so many refugees come from.  

I realized that I needed to go and see, to personally experience just a bit of what our friends have lived through in order to be more effective here at home.  

I’m so excited to let you know that I finally get to go!  I’m part of an Africa Refugee Highway Learning Team, organized through International Teams Canada, the mission agency that oversees Welcome Home's work.  

Seven Canadian leaders who serve refugees in Canada will spend two weeks learning together- March 21st until April 5th.  That team includes myself and Scott Cressman, Welcome Home's Male Supervisor since May 2010.  

(Scott plans to stay in Africa until early summer, so we're saying goodbye to him and welcoming a new supervisor during this month.)

  •  We will start our visit in Rwanda, where we will serve with missionaries who are helping refugee orphans in Kigali and spend time in a refugee camp, meeting refugees and hearing their stories.  
  • The second week will be spent in Nairobi, Kenya- the UN’s visa processing centre for all refugees from East Africa.  We will join a team there, meeting refugees in this urban centre who are waiting for an invitation to safety. 
    • I look forward to having a context for the stories I hear from the refugees I serve here in Kitchener. 
    • I look forward to firsthand experiences which will help me advocate for refugees with more integrity.
    • I look forward to having my eyes opened and my heart broken for what breaks God’s heart.  I know that we will be powerfully moved to pray, to care, to speak.
The Welcome Home team works hard at being a learning community, but so far much of our equipping has been through seminars, books we've read and sharing life with our incredibly patient refugee friends.  This first-hand experiential learning will make a significant difference for me personally, and hopefully our entire team.  Watch this blog for updates!