Each month in 2017 OUTLOOK is featuring individuals who are actively involved in peacemaking with their families, friends and communities. The following interview focuses on a family, formerly living in Colorado, who are now serving refugees in Cairo.
What does it mean to be a person of peace?
Peacemaking to us is the holistic repair of relationships, a vision given to us by God that is intended to encompass our relationships with our fellow man, our relationship with God, and our relationship with creation (animals, nature, etc.).
Being a person of peace entails seeking peace in these areas for ourselves and encouraging it in those we encounter as well, to the degree we are able.
We believe that our family is our greatest gift and an instrument of peace, so we seek to widen the circle of our family beyond those biologically related to us to everyone we encounter in an attempt to bring peace through treating those around us as our own dear family.
What does peacemaking look like to you?
We are currently in a phase of learning here in Cairo, because we believe that this is essential before being able to take any meaningful action toward peace. We were advised by some wise peacemaking friends to “listen longer than feels comfortable,” and we are seeking to do this now by studying Arabic, getting to know our neighbors and refugees here in Cairo, and observing in our busy everyday lives.
We try to share our experiences among the various communities we spend time in here (refugees, Egyptians, expats, Christians, Muslims, wealthy, struggling) to humanize different groups to each other, as well as sharing our experiences with our families back home. There is so much misunderstanding between people living in the Middle East and America, as well as much misunderstanding about refugees due to the media and the current world climate.
Is there is a saying or quote about peace that you like?
“An enemy is someone whose story we have not heard.” —Quaker Proverb
Do you have a particular Bible verse about peace that is meaningful to you?
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9). Also, “You have heard it was said, ‘Eye for an eye, and tooth for tooth.” But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” (Matt. 5: 38-4).
What gives you hope for the future?
We’ve been going through this 40 Days of Prayer challenge, focusing three times a day on Isa. 65:17-25. It has been a great experience to meditate on the vision that God has for the world. And each day a different part of it sticks out to us. We see tastes of that vision of peace here and pray deeply for more of it to unfold.