Put a Face On It!
If you know me and have followed me over the years you will know I’m not about politics and debate. I rarely if ever post divisive stories. While I do not consider this story a “draw a line in the sand” kind of piece, I’m well aware that it taps into everything we are all seeing on the news today. For your own context, I’m a registered Independent and a Christian with friends from all over the world who follow many different faiths. My job is to love, not to judge. The news stinks to watch and many people are feeling discouraged. Perhaps the best way to feel empowered about our world is to do something positive to help others.
Please read this story with open minds and hearts. Whatever falls on your heart to do something about…please act on it.
Put a Face On It!
My friend Shaula Overholt has felt called to answer the need. For her and her family, it’s not about politics, issues, walls, vetting, etc. For her it’s faithfully following what she has been asked to do… “Love your neighbor.”
Right now, her Austin neighbor’s happen to be several Syrian Refugee families. These are some of the faces. Their horrific stories are real. Their children and their needs are real, not news clips.
Recently, her church Gateway in Austin sent her to Jordan to learn first hand how they could help this world crisis. While there are a few churches helping there, one of the biggest problems is schooling for the kids. Living in some of these neighboring countries is overwhelming to all involved. When these children enter the local schools, they are oftentimes made fun of and bullied for being refugees. Then these kids don’t stay in school because it’s horrible. Then they don’t get an education and start to hate others too. Then, guess what kind of people/organizations want to swoop in and cause these same kids to join their hate groups? See how vicious that cycle can be? Education is a huge answer and need.
You see, the relatively few extremists wreaking havoc in our world are causing people to fear muslims, refugees and even people who don’t look like them. I get it. These are some scary times in our world. But FEAR cannot win. Feeling and expressing compassion and loving our neighbors must prevail.
Shaula, Laney Robb and their church are simply responding to need in their community. They are building relationships with people who have a face, a story and have lost their homes. They are working alongside the Syrian American Refugee Aid – SARA Organization and Gateway Church to love and support these people.
One such way is Laney (on far left) and other youth leaders are selling these way cool “Don’t Play it Safe” encouraging others to live out of your comfort zone t-shirts. The goal is to raise money to buy this group of refugee families for a car so they can begin to earn a living. Austin doesn’t have good public transit making it very difficult to work. Will a t-shirt save the Syrian refugee community? Maybe not, maybe it’s just a tiny dent in the solutions, but this community is doing something. They are not mired in political debate. They are actively “loving their new neighbors.”
FB message Shaula if you are interested in getting involved or need help understanding the scope of this problem in our world that needs real people helping in real ways.
World Issues? Don’t debate. Don’t Hate. Put a face on it and Get involved!
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