23rd March 2023

Have you ever been a refugee? As we watch horrific events unfold and listen to heart-rending stories we realise this is completely beyond our experience. We can’t live the hurt they are living. But some of these people may soon be staying in our homes, or our neighbours’ homes. Families just like us – and yet not like us, because of the trauma they’ve been through. Workers in disaster areas have developed trauma healing schemes to help survivors of ethnic cleansing and victims of earthquakes, volcanoes and floods. We shall need their skills and empathy. As Terry Waite said about the reunited Ratcliffe family: they will need time and space and quiet. We shall want to show our new friends the warmest possible welcome – yet not overwhelm them. Practical help to replace lost essentials and so regain independence and dignity could be a very important step to feeling ‘in control’ again.

Yet don’t let’s forget their thoughts will be continually returning to loved ones left behind in Ukraine. The great advantage of our age is ease of communication: what a difference mobile phones make! What a relief to hear a familiar voice! Less uncertainty and wondering if… but possibly a dagger in the heart to hear tragic news.

So as we continue to pray for the whole Ukraine situation and everyone caught up in it, we try to prepare our minds and hearts as well as our spare bedrooms, knowing that Jesus can do that in us and it’s his love and care that flow through us.

Lesley Fuller