We all stand heartbroken at the dislocation of men, women, and their families across Europe as they flee violent situations in the Middle East. Several countries in Europe are refusing to admit them while others are viewing them as contributors to a better future and expressing their willingness to take them in, feed them, clothe them, shelter them, and then use their God-given gifts for the benefit of communities and ultimately the country.
My grandfather came from Kiev, Ukraine to Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1905. These were troubling times in Russia and the surrounding countries as communism was taking a foothold and the fate of the royal family was being put in jeopardy every day. My grandfather, Timothy, was a member of a landowning family and therefore had been educated and had money to travel to the New World and to a new life. When he came to America he spoke no English but he learned quickly and went to work with his good friend Igor Sikorsky as he developed a strange new aircraft – the helicopter. My grandfather became a citizen and was the most patriotic, devoted American you have ever seen. As a little boy I remember him talking about America and what a great place it was – anyone can become great if he wants to.
I pray every day for those families that are in residential limbo across Europe. I hope that some of them become my neighbors. I think we might be surprised at how much we will learn to love them.