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The Little Ones

June 21, 2018

Yesterday, June 20th, was World Refugee Day. Like many of you, I’m sure, my heart breaks to see the news lately, with horrific images of children being separated from their parents at our country's southern border. My heart breaks at the thought of the myriad men, women and children who flee their home countries each day to escape violence, conflict and oppression. I cannot imagine what that must be like—the fear, not only of what one is escaping, but also of the unknown that is ahead.

For me, as may be the case for many of you, stories of what it means to be a refugee come from people close to my heart. My husband's daughter is married to a gentleman from Senegal. Both she and Abdoulaye have close ties to the Senegalese community near their home—which includes both people who left Senegal in easier times, and those who were refugees—and they have heard horrific stories of what some of them have endured. You and I see and hear images every day in the news, on Facebook, in the newspaper, about the crisis on our own borders. Our hearts break.

The Archbishop of Canterbury released a statement regarding our response to the crisis all around us. In part, it reads:

In your prayers today, please take some time to remember what it means that God came to us in the vulnerability of a child whose life was in danger. Are we ready to see the face of Jesus in the face of every displaced man, woman and child in the world today?

...As we pray today for all those who have been forced to flee their homes, let's pray too for wisdom and courage to find sustainable solutions to this ongoing crisis so that those in greatest need find safety and hope, and those on the front line of providing help are given the support they need. 

I have spent my entire professional life working for and with children. The thought of these little ones, some of my smallest brothers and sisters in Christ, being separated from their families as they, through no choice of their own, enter a strange new land, is shattering. What must they be thinking? How can they see God in the midst of what is undoubtedly a terrifying experience? Who will show these precious little ones the love of Jesus?

And so, I find myself asking, "What can we do?" We can certainly lend our dollars to organizations we feel will assist. We can raise our voices in protest of what we feel is unethical and inhumane. And we can pray. If your children are, in any sense, aware of what is happening around us, they may be asking what difference they can make. I would encourage you, as a family, to pray. Lift up those who are displaced. Lift up those who are fleeing violence and conflict. Lift up those, too, who are on the front lines and are given the responsibility of caring for those in need.  

So today, I find myself praying for refugees all around this world, but especially for the little ones crossing our southern border —that in the midst of separation and fear and turmoil, there might be someone on the front lines there who looks in their eyes and sees the face of Jesus. And also, that they in turn may look into the eyes of someone on those front lines, and see the face of Jesus as well.



Cathy Portlock Pacitto
Director of Children's Ministries   


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