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Into the Night Sea

Michael Himilee’s CPT experience

Human rights on the edge

By: Michael Himlie

As a Christian Peacemaker Team member (CPT’er) on Lesvos, I worked on the Night Watch, monitoring vessels in the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece, and awaiting refugees to arrive on Greek shore in the night. While the other Night Watch volunteers are just as intimately focused on the care, rights, and wellbeing of the refugees crossing as I am, it was hardly ever talked about on an individual basis as we sat through the night together. Typically the conversations consisted of the number of refugees crossing, the conditions of Moria, changes in Greek or EU laws and regulations, where boats need to land or where the smugglers launch them. Never do we talk about refugees as individuals. Perhaps this is a coping mechanism for some of the Night Watch volunteers who have been through many arrivals, some of them traumatic. I still look into the night…

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Jeanne’s new book: “Refugees! A Family’s Search for Freedom and a Church That Helped Them Find It” – (Available on:

Consider this:

What would you do if soldiers broke into your home and held your family hostage?

What would you do if your children were screaming, “Mommy! Daddy! Help Me?”

Where would you hide if you wended your way through the forest, only to find hucksters nestled in the bush, ready to rob and kill you?

In March of 2014, Antonio Guterres, then the United Nations’ High Commissioner of Refugees, stunned the world with this pronouncement: That 60 million people had fled the lands of their birth and were searching for a country to call ‘home’.

This marked the greatest number of refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced people (IDPs) in recorded history.

“Refugees! A Family’s Search for Freedom . . .” and a Church That Helped Them Find It’  recounts the story of “Every Refugee” down through the ages. Transcribed when a family of refugees found asylum at the Lick Creek Church of the Brethren in Bryan, Ohio, the church’s day-by-day experiences with their refugees reflect, in many ways, the tragedy of ‘Every Refugee’ down through the ages.

Cases in point:
. . . Moses leading the children of Israel to the Promised Land;
. . . Mary and Joseph fleeing with Jesus to escape King Herod’s henchmen;
. . . Now, let’s fast forward to the common era:

. . . During World War II, refugees in Hitler’s Germany fled by the millions to receiving countries;

. . . In 1975, 400,000 escaped Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos when Communist soldiers invaded their country. This was followed by another exodus of 400,000 who left under great duress.

By the time the conflict drew to a close, 1.5 million were among the desperate people who survived. Thus, history echoes the refugees’ story in every generation.

. . . Today, in 2016, we are no exception. As this post goes to press, world-wide, more than 65,000,000 people are searching for a country.

.  . . Approximately one-third of these are Refugees who can never go home again; another third are Asylum-seekers who are searching for a safe place until the violence has subsided, and another third of them are Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who are living in their home country, often with relatives or friends, but at a safer distance from the violence.

The time has come in our history whereby we must open our doors to ‘the other’. Only in doing so can we become the ‘hands and feet of Jesus’. It is a moral decision, a political decision, and it requires a humanitarian response.  We must work together to salvage these vulnerable people.


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How do advocates for racial justice move forward after Dallas?

Emmett Eldred is right on here. The man knows what he is talking about: “BLACK LIVES MATTER”!

Dunker Punks

Just before I was going to go to bed tonight, I saw news of several police officers being shot in Dallas during a Black Lives Matter protest. As the story developed, I watched in horror the news of at least eleven officers shot and four dead by two snipers with high-powered rifles. By tomorrow, we’ll know more information. We’ll likely wake up to knowledge about who conducted the shooting and why, and we might (though I pray not) learn of more police officers or other individuals killed or injured.

As with so many instances of horrific violence lately, there are no words. To see any lives claimed by senseless violence (and I believe that all violence is senseless) is indescribably tragic. No doubt, these officers did much to serve and protect their communities. No doubt, they had loved ones whose lives will be forever changed. Jesus reminds us that blessed…

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Seun Oke at 2014 PET Annual Conference

Seun Oke from Nigeria came to the US earlier this fall. She was scheduled at several PET shops around the US to talk about receiving her PET wheelchair and how it made a difference in her mobility. Today, she’s engaged to be married and holds an office job, both of which she attributes to her ability to use the PET. I was impressed listening to her. She, also, has a neat sense of humor. Listen to her story for yourself on You-tube here. You will be amazed.

Mobility Worldwide®

produced by Arla Gabrielse

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