Burma. Family.

You are our greatest gift–our family, our dearest, lifelong friends.  We’ve known this.  After returning from Burma, this realization has gone deeper than we knew it could.

Our time was well spent in Burma; we grew great relationships, shared love from family to family, waged some peace, and saw some beautiful places.  It wasn’t until we returned home and met with our friends and family here, delivering gifts, photos, and greetings from Burma, that we realized how special was our trip there.  In processing our time and relationships, new and old, we’re left speechless, but this is our best attempt at describing our heartfelt emotions and enormous experiences in Burma and Saudi Aurora.

Recently, UNHCR (the UN refugee agency) hosted its annual Nansen Refugee Award Ceremony to honor someone who has shown particular dedication to the plight of refugees the past year. At the ceremony, Lebanese-Swedish singer Maher Zain performed a new song called One Day, where he artfully and passionately reflects on the emotions that every refugee must endure.

 You can watch a video of his performance here.  If you imagine yourself a refugee when you listen, these lyrics are powerful:

One day I can reach that rainbow
Watch the sweet reflection
Shining off my first home
I’d give anything to see my family again
And say how much I love them
That’s all I imagine
One day

Our friends in Saudi Aurora would give anything to see their families again, and say how much they love them. It’s all they imagine.  And their families half-a-world away feel the same longing.  It was a great privilege of our life to have the opportunity and relationships to be a familial extension of one family branch to another, perhaps bringing new life to family trees once cut down.

Whether it was a lonely, aging mother fervently praying over us or goofing off with the college-aged siblings of our brothers in Saudi Aurora, our days in Burma moved us.  From hearing parents say “I feel like our children have come home at last,” to showing our friends, with tear-filled eyes, the photos of how their young siblings have grown into adulthood on the other side of the globe, our blessing of family was deepened in Burma.

IMG_3197

One brother in Aurora, eagerly awaiting news of a visitor reaching his two younger brothers in Yangon.

One brother in Aurora, eagerly awaiting news of a visitor reaching his two younger brothers in Yangon.

IMG_3129

Family in Aurora bridged to family in Taik Kyi.

Family in Aurora bridged to family in Taik Kyi.

Making a music video to send to their oldest sister in Aurora.

Making a music video to send to their oldest sister in Aurora.

Delivering a necklace sent from Aurora by big sister.

Delivering a necklace sent from Aurora by big sister.

Receiving a lesson in Burmese culture from a professor cousin.

Receiving a lesson in Burmese culture from a professor cousin.

IMG_3173

Sister time in Aurora to sister time in Burma (also showing off to family, a dress made in Aurora)

Sister time in Aurora to sister time in Burma (also showing off to family, a dress made in Aurora)

IMG_4109

DSC03325

From joking around with one brother in Aurora to joking around with his siblings and cousins in Yangon.

From joking around with one brother in Aurora to joking around with his siblings and cousins in Yangon.

Bowling over one grandma with a tall, handsome foreigner approaching her doorstep at this children's home in a village void of foreigners.

Bowling over one grandma with a tall, handsome foreigner approaching her doorstep at this children’s home in a village void of foreigners.

"I feel like my daughter is returning home to visit." New mom (a/k/a Nunu).

“I feel like my daughter is returning home to visit.” New mom (a/k/a Nunu).

Mom in Hmow Bi still proudly displays the medals won by her long-lost, athlete son (who is now age 42).

Mom in Hmow Bi still proudly displays the medals won by her long-lost, athlete son (who is now age 42).

DSC03172

Not an orphanage. A family home with children whose parents have passed away. Sending tidings of 'peace' to their cousins in Aurora.

Not an orphanage. A family home with children whose parents have passed away. Sending tidings of ‘peace’ to their cousins in Aurora.

IMG_3224

Big brother to little sister.

Big brother to little sister.

It's about the people.

It’s about the people.

Many of you have heard us speak of our desire to apply our mission and vision to new communities in the developing world. In some ways, this trip was preparation to fulfill that call. We don’t know where we will go or what, specifically, we will do, but we did advance some thoughts during our trip.

We’ve seen and felt on a deeper level the pain experienced in the hearts of our friends in Saudi Aurora and in the hearts of their families abroad. Thinking of that pain and our plans to leave the U.S. and all we call ‘home’ and our ‘family’ for a time (how long, we don’t know), brings a great deal of apprehension and fear into our minds. How can we possibly leave you behind, our most beloved?  The thought of missing even one year of our niece and nephew growing up brings buckets of tears to our eyes.  And that’s just at the thought of separation!  We see and feel the persistent emotions our friends endure here, in Saudi Aurora; and we know we can’t accept the gift of our family without paying it forward to those without (“Freely you have received; freely give.” – Jesus).  We can’t keep feasting when others are starving.  We can’t keep getting love dumped on us without pouring it back out. We need to be willing to go, no matter the cost.

In the meantime, the holiday season  is upon us. Whether in its presence or in its absence, family is felt most deeply at this time.  And as we’ve done in years past, we’ll spend the holidays with family and attempting to be family to those who have been uprooted. Will you join us on this trip?

Until next time, peace, we love you.

DSC03506

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Burma. Family.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s