From time to time someone in the office will share an image or story with the rest of the staff that connects to the work we do. Last week my colleague Rachel Brittain shared a link from the BBC website of an 'In Pictures' piece on life in the Bidi Bidi refugee camp in Northern Uganda.
It consists of simple and beautiful images of everyday things and people, including a photo of a child’s toy made out of bottle caps, plastic containers and strapped together with fabric. The photo caption reminds the reader that such toys are seen all over the camps and no two are ever the same! We have a similar 'DIY toy' in the CMSI offices...
As I looked at the BBC image, I was struck by how cleverly it was made and I reflected on the toys and craft my own children play with - they're rarely from the recycling bin! And yet, despite the limitations of raw materials, the ingenuity and creativity of this toy maker are shared gifts.
CMSI teams have made several visits to Bidi Bidi Camp and Rhino Camp Refugee Settlements over the last year and it is probably fair to say not one team member has returned to their own lives unaffected - often because they have witnessed the best qualities of humankind being displayed in the hardest circumstances.
Our Mission Director, Jenny Smyth, reminded us only this week in our daily devotions to keep the refugee situation, wherever it is taking place, in our minds and prayers. Three years ago, as a nation, we were so focussed on the plight of those refugees crossing Europe and the Mediterranean, thanks to nightly news updates. Not so now.
So I'm writing this in part to remind myself (and anyone who reads this) of those elsewhere for whom life is not straightforward or easy. We all share with each other a sense of creativity, adaptability, daily routines, care for family and many other qualities.
These BBC images have reminded me, the news sometimes prompts me, but it is God’s Word that tells me we are one body in Christ (Romans 12:5) - when one suffers, we all suffer; when one rejoices, we all rejoice. May we never tire of lifting up in prayer our global family in Christ.