Christmas Night with a Refugee Family
It was a most humbling end to Christmas Day. The Public Affairs missionary couple here (the Baird’s) had invited a family over for Christmas dinner. Moses, Sarah, Elizabeth and Adriana (twins age 25) are Christian refugees from Iran. In Iran, Moses and Sarah were both teachers and the girls were both business students at the university. They have now been here for four years and have official UN refugee status, which is no small feat in itself. They are now waiting for some country to accept them – any country…And they wait and wait. Remember, refugees in Indonesia cannot work or go to school, so they can’t really do anything while they wait….
While they have been waiting, Elizabeth happened to meet the missionaries on a bus and she and the family have been investigating the Church. The Baird’s have been trying to fellowship them and have had them over for dinner a couple times. Elizabeth and Adriana speak excellent English. but their parents do not.
During the course of the evening, some of their story came out – the beatings, the persecution, the dead-of-night escape, the smugglers who took their passports and their money, the middle-man who tried to sink their boat and finally as the people made their way to shore, the “rescuers” who waded into the water not to help them, but to mug them and take whatever money, food or anything of value from them. Beyond sad. And yet, they were happy, upbeat and a privilege to be with on this Christmas night.
After they had dinner, we went to the Baird’s apartment for dessert and a musical program. We read the Christmas story, sang Christmas Carols and DeeAnn sang Mary Did You Know. It was spontaneous and spur-of-the moment and was a Christmas night highlight. To think there are members of the Church who leave because they are ‘offended’ and then to meet people who will die for their Christian beliefs. Very humbling…..
While Elizabeth was describing their wait for a country to accept them, she mentioned England, Australia, New Zealand, or ‘the greatest country ever, America. Americans are so lucky just to be born in America’. We are. We absolutely are. And sometimes it takes someone else to point it out….