A Sense of Place and Belonging - Trans World Radio Canada

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  • Jun21Fri

    A Sense of Place and Belonging

    June 21, 2019 By the TWR Canada Women's Ministry Team
    Filed Under:
    Education, Issues Women Face

    Our focus this month is on praying for refugees, and the prayer need is urgent: 25.4 million refugees. That’s 25.4 million people (over half of them under 18) who have been forced to flee from their homes. How can we begin to understand the suffering, pain, challenge and despair that they feel? 
     
    It helps to have a clear understanding of what it means to be a refugee. The UN Refugee Agency defines a refugee as follows:

    “ … a refugee is a person whose race, religious beliefs, ethnicity, nationality, political views or membership in a particular association or social group has placed their life at risk of death or persecution and must flee for their own safety. Refugees are often forced to run for their lives with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.  

    “Refugees cannot return home or are afraid to return home due to fear of death or persecution. They are likely to remain a refugee for many years – for some, it may even be decades. It is estimated that 28,300 people are forced to flee their homes every day because of violence and persecution.”

    These men, women, boys and girls are forced to leave all they know and love and go into the unknown … a place with a whole new way of thinking, of eating, of developing and maintaining relationships, a new language and way of doing things. Nothing is the same or familiar. And often they don’t even know where they are going or what they will find there or how long they will be there. Once there, they long for the security and comfort of familiarity and of family and friends. They grieve all they have lost and yet are forced to carry on and fight to survive. 

    I recently read a quote by Kellye Schiffner Carver that resonated with me. She says, “A sense of place often means a sense of belonging.” For a refugee, where is their sense of belonging when they have no sense of place? 

    Hearing your familiar language on the radio or on a media device can have a great impact in these situations. Imagine hearing words you can understand in your mind and heart when most often you are surrounded by sounds that make no sense. Imagine the impact of the words telling you that you are loved and that you can be adopted as an heir to the kingdom of the Creator of the world, that there is a place for you. Imagine the sense of rest when you meet with believers in your new community and have a place to belong. 

    We cannot remove the reality of unfathomable loss that refugees experience, but we can share the wonderful redeeming power of the work Jesus Christ did on the cross on their behalf. Through him, they can find healing, peace and hope for an eternal home. Thank you for your prayers.