|Photo credit: Borderless 2015|
I originally wrote this "open letter" two years ago as the refugee camps were filling and Western nations were beginning to consider resettlement. Now in the United States, in the wake of recent terroist attacks, there are many who are afraid of you and political candidates score cheap points by promising to block your access to my country. Still, our president has promised to open our borders to thousands of you and that process has already begun.
I recognize that the odds of you reading this are not good. Many of you are tightly packed in refugee camps that are ill-equipped to provide you with adequate food, water, medicine, housing, and more. Others of you are somewhere along the refugee highway between Syria and Europe or even already resettled in a Western nation. Still, you are on my heart today and I wish to say something to you. And, insha'Allah (God willing), this message might reach one or two of you. My message is simple:
I am a citizen of the United States of America and i welcome you here.
Today, I am praying that President Obama's plans to thousands of you in our nation will succeed. I want you to come. I am deeply saddened by what you have had to endure and by the conditions that you are even now enduring. I am not considered rich by my country's standards. But, I have so much compared to you and I am willing to share.
I am willing to share my money, my time, my nation, and my life with you. And, if the Lord opens the door for you to come as refugees to my country I promise to do everything in my power to welcome you. I want to greet you at the airport, take you grocercy shopping or to medical visits. I want to help you learn English (though you probably already speak it fluently) and I want you to teach me your language and culture. I want to spend time with you as a friend and invite you to my home. I will listen to your stories if you are willing to tell them to me. Not only this, but I will mobilize and equip as many people as I can to do the same.
Some of you will be concerned that I will try to convert you to Christianity. I should say first that I would never put it in those terms. But, let me be as honest as possible. The Lord Jesus (Isa al-Masih), has changed my life and has given me an overabundance of love, peace, and hope. It is impossible to keep this to myself. I've not had to suffer like you. But, when I have suffered, he has been a constant presence and help. He has always saved me. So, I will certainly pray for you in His name. And I will tell you about His life. And, if you desire to follow Him, I will teach you what I know about how to do that. But, even if you don't. I will still love you and serve you with all my heart. Indeed, I must do this because the love of the Lord Jesus compels me. When I teach you English or pick you up at the airport or take you shopping or eat a meal in your home -- this will all be because of His love.
I cannot promise that every American will welcome you in this way. Many will not. Some will even be afraid of you. But, I will not be. I want you to come!
We have a famous statue in our country called "The Statue of Liberty". You may have seen a picture at some point. On the statue is an inscription which reads as follows:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
This is the heart of our country and also the heart of the Lord Jesus. It has become my heart as well. I hope you will come. I hope America can become your home and I hope you will become my neighbors and friends, my brothers and sisters, my uncles and aunties.
Blessings and peace to you,