Tag Archives: Saudi Aurora


Imagine the dictator that ruled your country with an iron fist for decades is assassinated as his government is overthrown by a rebellion aided by NATO air raids.  Your country then descends into chaos (a/k/a civil war) as tribal factions begin to clash for power and control; thus, fulfilling the wisdom of Judge Marvin Frankel when he wrote “A nation divided during a repressive regime does not emerge suddenly united when the time of repression has passed.”   Continue reading


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. Continue reading

Family Dinner

“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?

Soccer Walls and Updates

Despite the human rights abuses, the poverty, the corruption, and the waste, I’m still a nut for the World Cup. I love seeing competition bring people together, watching which players will show their best and which will show their worst. I love seeing the greatness of the world’s elite athletes on full display. I love the battle for position, the chess-like strategy, the heroics, the scrapy-ness of the smaller countries, and the pressure on the perennial powerhouses.

A few weeks ago, before all the excitement bubbled over in Brazil, an organization I’ve been friendly with, the Burma Community Rangers Organization, Continue reading

Springtime Encounters

I love what Laura Schroff writes about loving others in her book The Invisible Thread. In reflecting on a chance encounter she had with a street kid in New York City that grew into the most important, longest-lasting relationship in her life, she writes: “If love is the greatest gift of all, and I believe it is, then the greatest privilege of all is to be able to love someone else.”

I had a chance encounter recently in Saudi Aurora. It was a snow-filled Sunday evening in April as I returned home from a meeting across town. The meeting had gone very long and my friend and I decided to leave before it ended, which was perfect timing because I got to meet Betty and learn how poorly I embrace the privilege of loving. Continue reading