by Bob Wickizer

Bob Wickizer
Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37
1 Advent

I want to tell you about a family that returned to Afghanistan recently. Just before the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in the early 1980's Hamid's family was one of hundreds of university-educated "elites" who could afford to leave the country. Eventually making his way to the United States, Hamid and his young wife, Tekla, had three children here, established good jobs and good lives here. Their oldest daughter now attends Yale.

The events following September 11 2001 changed their comfortable Western lives forever. Hamid and Tekla felt as if their souls had been torn in half. Part of their life was American with a family here, good jobs, security and all the things Americans take for granted. But a big part of their life was what they left behind: extended family, friends, foods and just the pleasure of living in their native land.

Hamid and Tekla debated about returning to their home country for months. The logistics with children were maddening. Their desire to return and rebuild overcame every difficulty they encountered. Their hearts were set and only weeks ago did an American-Afghani family of three (one remained in college) return to their homeland.

They had been warned that conditions would be rough and unlike anything they might have remembered. But no amount of warning or Internet research could have prepared them for that first walk through their old neighborhood. Every shop, house and building was pock marked with the unmistakable pattern of automatic weapon fire. Whole neighborhoods where once stood thriving shops and cafes were abandoned leaving only a few birds flying through broken windows and what once were roofs. Ruin and devastation were everywhere. There was not enough to eat even if you had money to buy it. Transportation, telephone service, water and electricity were all unreliable and tottering on the bri ...

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