What would you put in your backpack?
This was question posed in a blog written by Winnie Horvat, who serves as a missionary for The Assemblies of God in Croatia. She and her husband Aaron, have been responding directly to the crisis of thousands of Syrian refugees desperately seeking safety in Europe. This is the question she asked all of us to think about.
Here is her list: 1. Wet wipes, it’s dirty on the road - how would YOU get clean?; 2. Kleenex- tears, pee - need we say more? 3. Flashlight, traveling at night, by foot, through a field? 4. Dried fruit, granola bars; 5. Copies of all our documents, important phone numbers; 6. Maps of Europe (hey- if the GPS goes out...); 7. Hand sanitizer- kill those germs; 8. Band aids and other 1st aid supplies; 9. A small zip lock filled with travel size toiletries; 10. Travel rain ponchos.
I’m not sure my list would be much different, but when I first thought about it I also included my cell phone and the necessary ways to charge it - outlet and car. And of course, I have never been in this situation or dealt directly with those who have. My only experience similar to this happened five years ago. In the spring of 2010 I had to move out of my house in SC; pack everything I owned into a storage facility; and placed those items I believed I would need for the next year into my car. It wasn’t easy but I wasn’t fearful for my life. I had time and space to think about those choices. I also had a place to go where I knew I would be greeted with love and welcome.
By night Joseph took Mary and their newborn child across the desert into Egypt with only what they could carry. They were afraid and it was probably a good thing that they were not at home in Nazareth. They were much closer to Egypt and had already packed for the journey to Bethlehem.
I wonder what I would take with me in the middle of the night. If I didn’t know where I was going or how I was getting there and if I were different - looked different, spoke a different language, and was of another faith - I wonder who would choose to befriend and aid me. Someone surely did this for Joseph, Mary and Jesus. Are we not called to do the same?
Sue von Rautenkranz