This evening, the Rochester Assembly of God Church held a local observance of the National Day of Prayer. While meditative groups around the nation are gathered today to lift up peace, our nation’s economy, worldwide health, and the needy wherever they are, the celebration here in Rochester, MN, had a slightly different feel. Among the normal reverends, pastors, and churchgoes, the Ghareeb family prayed alongside Scott Zaskey. Zaskey is a Mayo One pilot who’s led medical flights and just completed a tour of duty in Iraq. (Christina Killion Valdez) The Ghareebs are a family from Baghdad whom my father-in-law Pat has been helping adjust to America. They came last summer, after the father was kidnapped by al-Qaeda and freed. Since arriving, they’ve been learning about American indoor shopping malls, driving big automobiles, English-as-a-Second-Language classes, and how to find a job in an awful recession. More Iraqi refugees are expected this year, and some have already arrived to this small Minnesota city.
I would like to add my voice to their prayer. Knowing several refugee families from Somalia, Sudan, and Iraq, I would pray that we would come to realize that war can never create peace. Recognizing conflict throughout the world, I pray that refugees from Haiti might be recognized in the United States, at least with Temporary Protected Status, until their country comes out of 70% unemployment and hurricane wreckage. I pray that Liberians might not have to wait with bated breath every year to see if their TPS will be renewed or if they will be forced to return to a country in shambles (and as Charles Taylor still awaits his day in court). I pray that we would all recognize in the words of Dr. King that we are all “caught up in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied up in a single garment of destiny.”
Tags: america, Charles Taylor, esl, Ghareeb, Haiti, iraq, Iraqi, Liberia, Liberian, Mayo Clinic, Mayo One, Minnesota, MN, National Day of Prayer, Rochester, Rochester Assembly of God church, Scott Zaskey, Somalia, Sudan, Temporary Protected Status, TPS