Israeli Plan Angers Refugees

26 08 2009

Jordan a new homeland for Palestinians?  THAT’S not gonna happen…





I Wish I Had Seen This a Long Time Ago…

20 08 2009

A short documentary by NBC Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel about his own time in Iraq during the war.  It’s broken into six short clips, each about 5 minutes long, so you can view them all at once or individually when you have time.  Either way, it’s worth your time; It’s over a year old, but informative nonetheless.  Please note some of the images are graphic, but it gives a more complete view of what the war has been like on the ground for Iraqis (and for this journalist) than the brief video clips allow for during the nightly news.

During my recent travels in Lebanon and Syria I met more than a few Iraqi refugees.  One man in particular remains close to my heart.  He is a middle-aged man working at an Iraqi restaurant we frequented in the Jaramana Palestinian Refugee Camp outside Damascus – a refugee working among refugees.  He was quiet and kind, and had moved to Damascus 8 months ago from Baghdad with his family.  It is humbling to exchange the “Where are you from?” questions when you are from the U.S. and the other person is from Iraq.  Because of what my country has done, he and his family have had to flee theirs.  I was grateful for his kindness to us despite the deeply painful circumstances, and his ability to separate us from the acts of our government.  One day I asked him, sincerely, “How are you and your family?”  He replied first with the expected superficial answer, “Fine.”  But then he hinted at the reality underneath the surface: “Not fine, but fine.”  I asked him to explain his answer, and he humbly expressed how he is grateful his family is doing alright there in Damascus, but how they long for home and wish they could be there.  With as much honesty in my words as I could communicate, I said simply, “I’m sorry.”  I meant it.  But it was still cheap in light of all that needed to be forgiven and restored.

This documentary puts into perspective what the kind waiter, his family, and countless others have left in search of peace.  As long as they are far from home they will not find it in whole.  Let’s pray that God restores peace in Iraq, and raises some of us up to be a part of the process.

The link to the clips: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17636144/





I’m Moving to Washington!

6 08 2009

seattleFor many of you, this news is not new at all, but I realized that for the rest of you out there, who I may not get to see or talk to on a regular basis, I should probably make it official that I am, in the very near future, moving to the beautiful (and by “beautiful” I mean “sunless”) state of Washington.

The specific city of my future residence is still TBD, but will either be Tacoma or Seattle.  The decision will be made soon, however, since I am moving in about six weeks!  I have accepted a two-year, full-time research position with World Vision in Federal Way, WA, working for their lead Education Advisor in the area of life skills development for children in poverty.  If you’re smart, you are probably recognizing this is not my area of expertise at all, and you are right.  So, if you want more details as to why I’m taking this specific job, shoot me an email or give me a call and I would love to explain it more.  World Vision is a wonderful relief and development organization and I am very grateful to become a part of their team.  Many of my studies at Fuller have focused on international development, and I am so excited to be involved in that kind of work.

Even with all the excitement and gratitude, I am definitely leaving with mixed emotions.  I really cannot describe the deep ways God has impacted me during my time at Fuller.  I feel more alive, and more myself, than when I arrived.  I have been gifted with some of the most supportive, fun, and challenging relationships that I have ever had, and I have fallen in love with Los Angeles.  I am grateful and excited for the growth that God will bring in the coming season, but I am deeply saddened that moving on will require letting go.  So, even though I have known about this move for a while now, I have been reluctant to make it “official” with a blog post – I’ve been happily living in denial!

However, the time has come for another new chapter, and I wanted to make sure everyone knew so that I can be sure to see (and say goodbye) to my LA – and California – friends before I leave.  If you’re in the area, let me know and we’ll arrange a time to meet!  For those in Fresno and Sacramento, I would love to see you as I drive north with my U-Haul.  And, I’m putting in my request now for Seattle visits!





Cecil Smith dies at 92; Times TV critic advocated literate, high-quality shows – Los Angeles Times

2 08 2009

Cecil Smith dies at 92; Times TV critic advocated literate, high-quality shows – Los Angeles Times

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I’m Home!

1 08 2009

For those of you who don’t know yet, I should probably officially tell you that I am home safe and sound, back in Pasadena, and trying to get back in the swing of things.  It’s gonna take me a little while, considering everyone I know is packing up and moving out, or is already gone, so I have no clear idea of what “the swing of things” really is anymore.  Nonetheless, I more than survived the journey and surprisingly miss the Middle East more than I thought I would.  Thanks for following my updates.  Hopefully, I will post some more thoughts after the fact, as I process my experience more in the weeks to come.  For now, here are a couple of my fave pics from my travels last week:

the beautiful ruins at Baalbek

the beautiful ruins at Baalbek

me and the Karagheusian girls after our last day together

me and the Karagheusian girls after our last day together

Mt. Nebo - where Moses saw the Promised Land

Mt. Nebo - where Moses saw the Promised Land

traditional Arabic music inside the candlelit canyons of Petra at night

traditional Arabic music inside the candlelit canyons of Petra at night

crazy beautiful Petra

crazy beautiful Petra

Wadi Rum desert

Wadi Rum desert

climbing red sand rock canyons barefoot - and in a skirt!

climbing red sand rock canyons barefoot - and in a skirt!

irony

irony

floating in the Dead Sea at sunset

floating in the Dead Sea at sunset

Damascus Souq

Damascus Souq