I was blessed to experience hope in many forms this year. I witnessed a Rohingya refugee testify how training to become a classroom leader was the catalyst to discovering her voice as a woman. She finds hope where more than one million Rohingya in camps have no obvious solution to their displacement, and the world seems indifferent.
In Maban, South Sudan I heard educators speak of the importance of the teacher training they offer for refugees, the local community, and internally displaced South Sudanese. Many of them were educated as children by JRS in Ugandan refugee camps twenty years ago; their hope continues to inspire and impel.
In Soacha, Colombia, I met a Venezuelan mother who left home with her husband and baby because they could not find medicine for their epileptic older son. “When we arrived, he was curled up in a ball; now he is walking again.” Hope lives and gives thanks.
Hope, of course, is grounded in the faith of refugees and in our faith as a ministry of the Society of Jesus. Hope remains empty without love, and, as St. Ignatius reminds us, love is better shown in deeds than in words. Yet in the face of opposition, trauma, and suffering, hope abounds - spears become pruning hooks.
May this holiday season be filled with hope for all, and may 2020 bring a future built on hope - as well as love that is shown in deeds - for forcibly displaced people around the world.