Givers or Takers?
Photo: Sharon Tonzo with Nestorine
IAFR's Sharon Tonzo is a missionary from the Philippines serving forcibly displaced people in Atlanta. Over the years, Sharon has become friends with a family from D.R. Congo. Appoline, a daughter, is part of Sharon's youth ministry. She put her faith in Jesus earlier this year.
Nestorine, Appoline's mother (above), recently gave Sharon a generous gift for her mother back in the Philippines! Nestorine wanted to honor her for allowing Sharon to serve refugees in the US!
Meanwhile, in a refugee camp on the other side of the world...
Photo: Mama Fartun with her children in Kakuma
Mama Fartun (photo) has been a refugee in Kenya for at least 20 years. IAFR's Tom Albinson always looks forward to visiting with her and her neighbors when in Kakuma.
Over the years, Mama Fartun has sent Tom back to the US with hand tailored clothing for his wife, his daughter, his son-in-law, and in February she sent him back with bed sheets for his mother! She has made it clear that saying "no" to her gifts is not an option.
Refugees are more than people in need. They are among the most generous people in the world.
Photo: "These brothers and sisters came around me when I needed them." -T.Albinson
Tom Albinson was in Kakuma refugee camp when he got the news that his sister-in-law had suddenly passed away. It happened just a few minutes after he had taken this photo.
These brothers and sisters saw Tom was in pain and quickly gathered around him in prayer. They were no strangers to grief and heartache.
While this happened several years ago, Tom will never forget the gift they gave him that day - their loving presence.
Making a meaningful contribution to the lives of others is essential to recovery from forced displacement.
Despair takes root when we feel that we have nothing of value to offer others. Yet all too often, refugees are perceived and treated by others as if they are only people in need. Not only is this harmful - it isn't true.
So as we help our friends survive and recover from forced displacement, we often find ourselves on the receiving end of their generosity, hospitality and care.
In the end, we are all givers and takers.
-by Tom Albinson, IAFR President