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. Continue reading
“Derek, Alicia, when I sit there at the long dinner table with all your family, I think of my family at home in Iraq. Thank you, brother; thank you, sister.”
Last night, we brought a couple friends to a family dinner and birthday party. One friend is a refugee from Iraq, a bachelor in his early thirties. His entire family–parents, five siblings, and all the extended Arab family–remains in Iraq. To sit at a long table full of food, laughter, and updates on life, this friend felt the warmth of family. After separation and isolation, he felt included in a place he belonged. He misses his family in Iraq but now he knows he has a family in Colorado and, to him, that made all the difference in the world.
For Alicia and I, our family has been our greatest gift–we did nothing to earn it. And so, we try to give what God has given to us. Why should others not share in what we’ve received so freely?
These first few months of 2014 have been a blur. Recovering from surgery, avoiding sunburn during a vacation in paradise, attempting to spread a little Valentine’s Day love to many friends in our community while at the same time breaking up a late-night, teenage sexual-rendezvous (quite literally), sharing many delicious meals with great friends, preparing for the community garden to open, and witnessing the happy-side of the reunification of several refugee families separated from each other for years preparing for gardening season are a few of the highlights and bloopers of the year so far.
For some reason, these first few months have seen many of our friends and some of my (Derek’s) clients finally, at long last, reunited with their loved ones. Continue reading
I’ve been haunted for a few weeks now by an interaction I had with my friend, Hung. One evening towards the end of the summer, I went to our community garden by myself to hang up some square boards that the kids in the community had painted pictures on the week prior. I was thinking about the symbolism behind “hanging up art” in a new home or in the community: Would this garden and its impact be here to stay? Continue reading