ISIS, Iraqi refugees, and a curious Biblical prophecy

Many of the world's refugees are children, Photo 2015, David Rupert

This post contains some interesting news about the maddening middle east. It's intriguing, and something I've wrestled with for months. I don't write these words lightly. I would love to hear your reaction, as it has impacted me to the very core.Until recently, the Nineveh Plains of Iraq was home to one of the most concentrated areas of Christians in the Middle East.However, the displacement of more than 200,000 Christians from Mosul, Arbel and Dohuk and other areas on the Nineveh Plains … [Read more...]

Groundhog Day: What’s next for your life?

Saturday it was 60 degrees. Today's snowfall will exceed 10-12 inches.“Will it be the winter of despair or the spring of hope?” asked Charles Dickens.In a thousand different ways in a thousand different times I've asked that very question in my heart of hearts. I'm not alone. I've had jobs that seemed to be without any hope. I lived through relationships that looked sunk into winter. I've listened to the tape in my own mind, reminding me of my shortcomings.The question is answered in … [Read more...]

“I broke King Tut’s mask” — Lessons learned from making mistakes at work

Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen, Wikipedia CCLI

Eight Cairo museum workers have been referred to prosecution and trial for “gross negligence.” Their crime?  They broke the beard off the famed golden burial mask of King Tut and then further scarred the piece with a super-glue repair job.The 3,300 year-old mask is a symbol of Egyptian wealth and power. The ancient Pharaohs were considered gods and the mask was placed on the face of the body of Tutankhamun, who died at the age of 19.It was discovered in 1922, leading to a century-long fas … [Read more...]

Do you feel all hope is lost? This is for you.

Regret. We all have it. The relationship we lost. The vocation we never found. The job we were fired from. The place we have never lived. And these regrets can be how we see ourselves. Formless. Void. Bottomless emptiness.  When you look at the beginnings of our planet – whether you come from a strictly scientific view or a theological view —  planet earth started as “junk.”  Genesis calls it “a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness.” It was just a body of cosmi … [Read more...]

It’s okay to pray

Thanks to these brave high schoolers who forced me to think about what it's like to be a generation that has only known life since 9/11.And for them, it's okay to pray. … [Read more...]

Don’t be a stranger to danger

It looked bad, as he clutched his wrist and grimaced in pain. Joshua,was just 11, and he was all boy. He had been stunt-jumping on his bicycle and had “biffed it,” adolescent talk for “had a major accident and lived to tell.”This was a familiar path we trod to the Emergency Room. I don’t how many, but it was at least 10.  And we even had a nurse in the house to mitigate some of the emergencies, but still this son of mine lived a rough-and-tumble life.The wrist was brok … [Read more...]

On the ground: She hears the voices of the refugees (part 2)


On Monday, I shared the story of Sawson Ojailat who as my translator while I was in Jordan. I encourage you to read her words here first, and then continue on. I have begun to image what it would have been like to be a Christian in Syria or Iraq.  The Christian refugees we interviewed shared their stories of persecution. We heard stories about the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS and FSA who were very strong and powerful against them.  I was shocked as they shared their stories of persecution as Chr … [Read more...]

On the ground: She hears the voices of the refugees


 (Sawson Ojailat served as my translator while I was in Jordan. She is a wonderful Christian woman, raised in Kuwait as a child and later to Jordan as an adult. She has seen a region rocked by unrest. She has seen death. But she has watched the sprig of hope blossom throughout the region she loves. During my brief visit, Sawson accurately translated my questions and the refugee’s answers. The hard questions would often bring the most heart-wrenching honesty. As she translated the Arabic back in … [Read more...]

Nowhere to go: Refugee families escaped ISIS, but cannot escape captivity


It’s morning and Salwan Mochtar opens the door to face the day. Sadly, this day is no different than yesterday and likely no different than tomorrow.The fittingly named Lady of Peace school towers high, looking down at the 10 x 15 hard-sided caravan trailers where Salwan and ten other families live. The school is part of a sprawling Catholic complex including a stunning new church. The trailer grouping is at the backside of the sanctuary and are managed by Caritas International, the Catholic … [Read more...]

Wedding plans interrupted by war, but their love prevails

Their wedding plans were stopped by terror, but their love prevailed. "We don't give up"

They all wore crosses as they leaned in, talking rapidly as the translator tried to keep me in the conversation. Their words were passionate and real. They had lived through hell as a family and were happy to be on the other side of it. And yes, they wanted to talk about it. Qusai looked at his sister, Raneen, wondering just where to start. Their spouses, Zaina and Wesam were ready to talk too, but finding proper words to describe a life in turmoil didn't come so easily It wasn’t just the family … [Read more...]