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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Celebratory Protest

Greetings Warriors and Scribes.

So, I want to tell you a story about a lady named Laila. Laila is a woman who has been seeking asylum in Austria. She speaks not only German fluently, but Farsi and French as well. She is engaged to a guy who has already been accepted and granted asylum. She was going through all legal expectations, such as visiting the police station every 3 days. One day she went in and they arrested her. The Prime Minister had decided there was no space left in the country and apparently that they should not even give a chance to someone who could be a contributing member of society.

My friends in Vienna know her. They go to her church. A church that is devoted to immigrants and sharing Jesus with foreigners. So what did they do? They prayed and they protested. They joined with activists in standing outside her jail for 2 nights. This grabbed a lot of attention. Members of parliament used her story to express why there needs to be changes in policy. Her story was on national news and even on the big ad screens in the subway stations.

The police took her to the airport. But it didn't go as planned. The flight crew refused to fly her. REFUSED TO FLY HER! The police ended up taking her back to the station and the plane took off with the rest of the passengers bound for their destination. A few hours later she got released by the police.

I happened to be on route to Vienna the day this was happening and stayed with my friends that night. So I got to attend a celebratory protest. Yep, you read that right. CELEBRATORY PROTEST. I had never really protested anything. My views of such an activity were limited to news and movies. The one I always remember the most is Planet 59. Such a fun movie. I am glad I got to go see a different side of life; and of the churches work in Europe.

I like rules. I am a board gamer and we tend to be pretty serious about such things. This showed me something about rules that aren't working well. This was not an illegal immigrant. Laila had no problem going through legal hoops to achieve this goal but all she was getting was an unjust push out the door.

I respect her church for taking peaceful measures to challenge the issue. Often in ministry it is so easy to feel like you are getting nowhere....and this is one of those stories that just shouts out "HOPE EXISTS!"

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