IN SYRIA, NOBODY DRINKS THEIR MORNING COFFEE ALONE

Your neighbor will invite you to coffee, or you will invite them to coffee every day.

It’s essential for traumatized people to establish rhythms of normalcy, and food is one of the most essential rhythms there is.  Whether it’s a three-star chef buying ingredients at the market, a farmer harvesting her crop, an astronaut opening a packet of freeze-dried food on the space station, a businessman on his lunch break, or refugees elbowing their way to a truck full of rice—all of us, everywhere, think about food.

One thing we love about you, though, is that you don’t just think about food for yourself and your family (in Sheridan)—you also think about food for others in need.  You’ve proven that by sending food to fleeing families in conflict zones across this region and by helping to provide more than two million hot meals in Syria in 2018 alone.  You’ve shown immense compassion for refugees and displaced people, and we’re grateful.

Many of you have asked what else you can do to stand with and support refugee families around the world, so, for National Refugee Day, we thought we’d provide some practical ideas for how to engage with refugees.

Here’s one that stuck for Sheridan residents Colin and Emily Betzler, co-founders www.boughtbeautifully.org.

Gather with a Purpose

Gather table, 2018. Photo by Emily A. Betzler.

There is something magical about fall.  The cool mornings, dew-laced grass and the depth of days changing with the light.  We welcome the evolution of the seasons and are grateful for the new routines and fresh thought patterns they bring.  Seasons often make for the best reminders.  In our journey of life, there are times to re-calibrate and times to remember, and to be more purposeful with the time at hand.    

For a while now, we’ve had it on our hearts, Colin and I, to be more intentional in sharing more about our inspiring artisan partners from around the globe.  We want you—our friends, supporters and dedicated customers—to be able to learn more about the amazing people we partner with and the countries and communities they call home.    

This season, we invite you to experience a new tradition with us.  Why?  We are deeply familiar with and passionate about the causes these people champion… and we want you to be, too.  The idea is to make it easier for others to understand and to become truly engaged in the bigger picture of what goes on in the daily lives of those we partner and work with, and the places where they work.      

Aleppo neighborhood, 2007. Photo by Thomas Stellmach.

There is so much more behind the beautiful handmade goods we’re bringing to a wider market… It’s unreal.  The transformations we’ve witnessed among the real people whom our efforts and your purchases have impacted.      

Like any place in the world, every country and community have its own economic challenges and problems from health crises, poverty dynamics, social issues and injustice, and daily even struggles… all the more reason to not only support our partners, but to also pray for them.  (Which we encourage you to do).      

The first step towards praying effectively and coming alongside our global sisters and brothers is to seek to understand what their everyday lives look like.  Earlier this year, the Bought Beautifully, or BB, team experimented with this idea by joining our partner, Preemptive Love, in making and sharing a traditional Syrian meal with friends.  We used the opportunity to learn about and pray for Syria in the midst of the ongoing heartache and despair experienced there.

It was a beautiful and powerful experience; taking a meaningful and intentional pause in the middle of a work week to purposefully think of, pray for, and support Syrians and their homeland.  So much so that we want to continue this same idea for other partners, as well, and make this a regular practice in our lives.  And, we want to invite you along, too!    

Our hope for Gather with a Purpose going forward is to share an ethnic meal, conversation about the country or community, and then to pray for specific requests from the country, community, or partner.  We plan to do so on a monthly basis, and we would love to have you, your friends and family join us.      

For each gathering, we will provide some basic informational resources, current partner prayer requests, activities for kids to engage in and ethnic recipes for all to attempt.

Vegetables for sale in Aleppo, 2010. Photo by Bruno Vanbesien.

No worries if your timing is different than ours, you can use the information we provide to host your own purposeful gathering at any time or venue!  We’d love for you to learn and grow with us and are grateful for the opportunity to learn and love each partner, their countries and communities, even from afar.   

The women of Syria and Iraq are more than refugees.  They’re our sisters.  Stand with them as they rebuild their lives and hold a piece of their future in your hands by visiting www.boughtbeautifully.org.      

Special thanks to the Preemptive Love Coalition for their kind contribution of permission to use excerpts and photos from their work, Eat Like Syria for World Refugee Day by Christine Edwards, Erin Wilson, Matt Willingham and Courtney Christensen.     

The Preemptive Love Coalition stretches across Iraq, Syria, the U.S., and beyond, to unmake violence and create a more beautiful world. 

Learn more about their cause at preemptivelove.org.         

By: Emily A. Betzler for 82801

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