Advent and Refugees: Maranatha

2
"Advent and Refugees: Maranatha" by Jane Korvemaker (CatholicMom.com)

Via Flickr (2008), CC BY 2.0

Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus.

I was introduced indirectly to a family in my own city who have fled their home country in the Middle East. They came here with the influx of other refugees, totalling a number close to 30,000. This woman, whom I’ll call Amala, is deaf, does not understand English, and is a single mother.

Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus.

In Canada we have resources for refugees and those in precarious situations, and my friend Jennifer (name changed) and the team that sponsored her family as refugees have been working hard to help ensure she has what she needs. However, apart from the ones who sponsor the refugees (and their ongoing goodwill and charity), there is no real follow-up; there is no coordination between resources; there is little that they can access on their own without help of a guide. Amala’s disability has made this situation much more complex. Her personally developed sign language is only understood by four people in my city. Only one of those four is a part of her sponsorship team. If it were not for Jennifer, Amala would be left high and dry in our city.

There is no real net for refugees with disabilities or if they face other sensitive situations. And her children are also suffering – everyone is in ‘survival’ mode which is not meeting the needs of anyone, and the lack of stability only enhances the suffering.

This situation tears at me; she has sought out crisis housing but it is made difficult with her disability. I don’t know about winter where you are, but winter in Canada is cold. The temperatures are steadily dropping with highs of 21F currently, and only getting colder in the next several days. People cannot survive living outside, and Amala and her three children struggle with housing. She is deaf with little communication, she cannot gain any sort of income and the system seems to be working against her survival. What can we do? Who can help?

How can my faith even hope to answer this? Where is the light for her journey? Where is that candle of hope?

Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus.

"Advent and Refugees: Maranatha" by Jane Korvemaker (CatholicMom.com)

Via Flickr (2014), CC BY-SA 2.0

I am left with questions and the only certain answer I have is that it is okay to hold these questions. It is okay to question. It is okay to be uncomfortable and to feel angry. I don’t know how God will resolve this; I don’t know who is being called on to help. It is my prayer that we listen to that call from God that says, ‘Now is the time,’ or ‘This is for you, you can do this.’ When we can hear the call and answer it, then it is like we are striking a match to light the candle. We become ignited and the flame can spread.

My faith reassures me that God is bigger than my questions. I am more nervous about people’s response to God’s call than I am about whether God cares. How many of us miss that opportunity that we are called by God to because we don’t think we can do it? Because it would interfere? Since it would make me step out of familiarity and comfort?

For striking that match means that we might burn out, and our own flame might not be relighted. That’s what my fear tells me. I know that’s definitely a struggle for me – if I burn out, how can I still serve? Especially my family. Dear Lord, this is a struggle for us all. Do I go home and love my family and go out and serve those around me? Where will I find that energy?

Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus.

I hold Amala and her family in prayer. Jennifer is also in my prayers, for she struggles to help Amala as a nearly full-time caregiver would. I pray for Jennifer’s family, that they will be opened to the Spirit working in the situation and that through this struggle they also will be brought closer to Jesus.  And I pray for our faith community that we listen in each of our circumstances and hear God calling our names to do the work of Jesus here on earth.

"Advent and Refugees: Maranatha" by Jane Korvemaker (CatholicMom.com)

Via Flickr (2012), CC BY-SA 2.0

Maranatha.

Advent is the season of waiting and preparing, two things that are not mutually exclusive. We cannot be ready for Christ coming into this world unless we are active. We will miss the greatest gift to us all if we do not prepare. Without preparation, we will not recognise this gift. We will not recognise Jesus. I cannot hope to be the hands and feet of Jesus if I do not recognise him in others, and I cannot recognise him if I do not prepare – if I do not remain awake and seek with the eyes of my heart.

It is clear that Jesus is in these refugees – all of them, even the ones out there who are not so lovable. People are being called to respond, myself included. It is through that wakefulness that we can discern where we can be Jesus’ hands and feet. It is through watching and waiting and preparing that we can recognise Jesus and make him known.

Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus.

What is your biggest struggle to responding to God’s call in your everyday life?

Copyright 2016 Jane Korvemaker

Share.

About Author

Jane Korvemaker loves food, family, wine, and God (perhaps not in that order). She holds a Certificate in Culinary Arts, which pairs perfectly with her Bachelor in Theology. A former Coordinator of Youth Ministry, she writes from the beautiful and cold province of Saskatchewan, Canada. She works from home and takes care of her three very hard-working children. Jane regularly blogs at www.ajk2.ca.

2 Comments

  1. This is one of the most touching stories related to the plight of refugees that I have heard, at least of late. As a nurse I have come into contact with several refugees who face health challenges and a lack of common language in order to communicate but none this severe. I can only imagine how frightened this lady must be for herself and her children in a strange land where everything is strange to her. I pray that our country and us as individuals will make the effort to welcome and care for the refugees who find their way here to live in peace and hope. We must remember that each of our ancestors came to our country as immigrants or refugees at one point and now we are given the opportunity to welcome and embrace others in similar situations. Yes, Maranatha, God with us as we live our faith.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Terry! Responding in love and mercy is always what God calls us to! It’s just hard discerning how we can personally apply that to a specific situation. Blessings in your work!

Leave A Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.