World Refugee Day

May 24, 2010

Take the LIRS challenge and send this video to three friends!

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Los Suns

May 5, 2010

Awesome article! Click here to read about the Phoenix Suns basketball team. The title reads “Suns to wear ‘Los Suns’ uniforms to honor Phoenix’s Latino Community”. So beautiful!

It is the first week of May. After a Mennonite Volunteer Service retreat to the mountains this past weekend I am undeniably aware that I am now 2/3 of the way complete with my year of service. In ways I am relieved. I am excited for next year, to make money, work part time, and officially enter the post-collegiate “real world”. In other ways I am sad. To leave Baltimore means to move away from people, places, and memories that have managed to creep into my heart and become rather dear to me throughout the past eight months. It is hard to believe I have been here eight months already.  As I examine my personal learning and the growth that I have seen take place in my life while living in Baltimore, I am excited for the person that I get to be in September, and the ways my life might look different as this year is complete.

I came to Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service knowing very little about what my time would be like this year. My knowledge on Lutherans, immigration, and refugee services was, needless to say, less then abundant. As I began to work and engage with my colleagues and communities, I found that it did not take long before these three words became integral pieces of my everyday thought and conversations.

My personal interactions with the stories of immigrants and refugees have been entirely transforming. The significance of story is something that has always been dear to my heart, but this year, in a whole new way. I continue to learn not only the significance, but the preciousness of individual and person experience. The boldness and courage that I have seen exhibited in the heart of each person that I have gotten to meet, interview, and photograph for my project this year continues to humble and inspire me. As I begin to look forward and see little pieces of what my future might hold beyond this year of volunteering, I remain excited for my last 4 months here in Baltimore and with LIRS. As I continue to meet and interview people I continue to see a fuller picture of this world. What a joy this is.

SOJOURNERS blog

May 3, 2010

This article, from the SOJOUNERS blog I found to be beautiful and insightful. Click here to go to the blog. Here is a sneak preview, but click the link to read the full article!

The God Who Sees

by Crissy Brooks 04-28-2010

“When I was in second grade handball was all the rage. We played it with big red rubber balls against backboards on the playground. One day I was playing against Amy Watson, a third grader, and she went for it- hit an ace, leaving the ball very low to the ground. I was not about to be shown up by a “big kid” so I launched myself toward the ball as if I were sliding into home plate. I slid right across the asphalt on my nose. I stood up in pain, half embarrassed, half proud of my all out attempt. Turning to Amy Watson, I asked, “Is there a mark?” Looking straight at me she replied, “No, I don’t see anything.” Unconvinced I ran to the bathroom to see for myself. There down the whole length of my nose was a huge scrape. All the skin was gone. “How could she not see that?” I thought.

My senior year of college I had a Communication professor who treated his classes more like group therapy than academic study. This particular class was bearable because almost all of us had gone through the program together and had become friends over the years. One night the professor sat us in a circle and told us to write a secret on a piece of paper, something about ourselves that we never tell anyone. We each wrote something down and put the papers in a pile. One by one the professor read them out loud.  One by one we heard pain, loneliness, hurt. We had lived and studied together for four years. How could we be so unaware of each other’s pain? “How did we not see that?” I thought.

In the movie, Crossing Arizona, there is a scene where an anti-immigration rally takes place in a hotel ballroom. As the speaker rants about immigrants taking away jobs and ruining our society, the immigrant hotel workers are cleaning up and serving those in attendance. Watching the scene I was left asking, “How can they not see that the people serving them are the ones they are railing against? How can they not see?”…”

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE…

Check this out on NPR’s website: Lebanese Artists Evoke Violent Past, Hopeful Future. I soon hope to be visiting the exhibit at American University in Washington D.C!

“Nearly 30 artists are featured in Convergence, a new exhibit of Lebanese art currently on display at American University in Washington, D.C. The works articulate painful memories of the country’s 15-year civil war — but also emphasize Lebanon’s hopes for a promising future.” -Jacki Lyden, NPR