First, we wanted to let everyone know that we are going to be in Austin July 3-9. We are looking forward to seeing all of our friends and family there and enjoying the mild central Texas summer. The main reason we are traveling to Austin is to meet with our home church, All Saints, and other Texas churches to form a support network for our TIMO team.
I recently read a great book by Mary Pipher called The Middle of Everywhere. In it she shares her experiences of working with immigrants and refugees in Nebraska, of all places. Politics aside, we are called as people of The Faith to the poor and the oppressed (Luke 4:18). And in chapter 11 of her book, Pipher reveals her view of why it is important for Americans to embrace, empathize and attempt to understand the immigrants and refugees that are scattered across American cities and towns. In our ever-changing world of globalization, hyper-technology, and political and financial instability, the refugee’s story of drastic social upheaval and loss of community is becoming increasingly our story as well. She says, “The refugee experience of dislocation, cultural bereavement, confusion and constant change will soon be all of our experience.” We are a nation “in transition,” and we are a culture of choice. This combination of massive amounts of change and choice leaves us all feeling overwhelmed and disconnected. And it is with that in mind that Pipher says we should enter into the lives of refugees, with the understanding that we can learn more about ourselves by helping them navigate twenty-first century America. We can do this only by first recognizing our own poverty of spirit… and understanding our mutual need for a Savior.