Hi, my name is Tom. Last summer my daughter strongly felt that God was telling her to go to serve at one of the Learning Centers for Syrian refugee kids. Well, I could not let her go alone, I very much wanted her to follow God’s will. And so we planned to go. What amazed me was that as soon as we decided to go, without asking for help, people in our fellowship circles began offering to help. The folks at NLC asked us if we could help teach some English to the stuand staff. Also, my daughter likes to knit hats and scarves and she figured maybe some of the ladies and older girls there would be interested. They were! Soon they were making some really beautiful hats and scarves. My daughter said, “They are already making nicer things than I make!” They had a lot of fun times doing this over the three weeks we were there. And most importantly, friendships were formed.

For myself, I thought I could at least teach English. It is my mother tongue, after all. Before we left, others had decided to join us, and soon we had enough people helping to serve in two different learning centers. It was a lot of fun. We didn’t just teach English though. Their staff gave us Arabic lessons each day too. For me trying to learn Arabic was the most fun. Remember, these vacation programs are about community, not getting grades.

Most importantly though, I believe my daughter and I came back having made some lifelong friends. I also found that once my friends an

d others learned that we were going, that so many of them wanted to help. For Americans that year, the Syrian refugee situation had been a big political issue. People want to help the refugees but they weren’t sure how to do so, also concerned about terrorism. Many were afraid to help. But once people knew that their friends were going over to show love and support to these displaced Syrian folk, people began giving very generously, so that we would be able to go. Soon both my daughter’s and my trips were paid for. One church fellowship group even gave us extra money to get the children at the learning centers, whatever was needed. That turned out to be a large assortment of educational games and toys and kits. Two businessmen also gave us 4 brand new laptops, that were much needed there! People gave my daughter so many looms and so much yarn, I had a pile in my office of them higher than my head. Going for us, showed me that both communities, from Syria and from my hometown, want to get to know each other with the hope of friendship. That certainly happened for us, and we hope trust it can happen for anyone who is going as learners. (Because those who go there learn a lot!) And any who go must know God’s love themselves truly, and want to express it to the folks they will meet there and along the way. Contact us if you would like more information.

From Liliana

Hello I am Liliana. Last summer I went to spend time with the refugee kids in Turkey. Few years ago had wanted to go and to help them if I could. Then a year later I heard about this opportunity and I was so happy to join the team and to go over there. It was so hot and so much drier the country I came from and working with them using my second language (English) was a challenge as well. But to see them and to hear them singing and laughing and to be willing to learn and just to share this time with these wonderful people was our main goal.

We were learning their language too (Arabic and some Kurdish), and the first thing I learned was how to write my name in Arabic and to speak the names of my new friends and the students too. It was such a fine time seeing these folks smiling and for me, to get to hear their history was so important!

I came back to my country, praise God for He is so good! My heart was full of new friendships. The people there have been through so much, and we learned to sing together no matter what and in all circumstance, “God’s so good. God loves me so. I’m thankful.”

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