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JRS Online Retreat: Day 13 – Education: Hope for the Future
Saturday, November 13, 2010


“Hope increases when we help refugees to have faith in themselves and in their future. It increases when love is put in deeds of education and vocational training which transform past and present hatred into life, with the wisdom that enables reconciliation and offers them the hope of a different future."

As you begin your prayer today, remember that you are in God’s holy presence. Become aware of how God gazes on you all the time, how tenderly and powerfully God regards you. Ask God for what you want in prayer:

Ask God to recognize and know the Lord Jesus as your mentor for a life of love and service.  



Reflections for Prayer

Sr. Virginia Hasson, RSM
Former Program Director
JRS Southern Africa

13 November 2010 – In 1991 Abebe was a student at Addis Ababa University. The war disrupted his life and he eventually fled to Kakuma Camp in Kenya for sanctuary. Abebe came to Kenya with a heavy heart and, as time passed, he lost hope of returning to his homeland. He grieved the opportunity that he had lost to develop his God-given talents through education. He thought constantly about the hopes and dreams that were so alive in him when he was a student. However, this grief was turned to joy when Abebe was able to enroll in a JRS sponsored distance learning program with the University of South Africa through which he earned a B.A. in Sociology and Economics in 2003. Abebe believed this education helped him to know himself better as well as to improve his understanding of others and, indeed, of the world at large.

Abebe felt that through his studies he developed a strong sense of social responsibility and a determination to help other human beings. As soon as he had completed his degree studies, Abebe began working with the JRS team to provide educational opportunities for other refugees.  Seven years have passed and Abebe remains in Kakuma Camp waiting for resettlement. Recently, when I met with Abebe, I found a serene and competent man who works untiringly in the JRS Education Program. When I asked Abebe about his dedication, he told me that through his education JRS had helped him to resurrect his hope. Now he finds great joy in sharing with the JRS team’s mission of bringing hope to other refugees through education. 

Yes, Abebe hopes to have a future beyond the refugee camp, but he believes that his education and the experiences to which this learning has led him have enriched his life for the present and for the future. He also derives great satisfaction in fanning to full flame the embers of hope which he finds in refugees who come to study on the JRS compound.

Jesus was the ultimate teacher, using parables and examples to help his followers to understand.  However, Jesus wasn’t interested in an understanding that remained on the cognitive level.  He wanted his word to reach deep into the heart and bear fruit in action. 

In your prayer today examine how you have used your educational opportunities to bolster your own understanding of God’s world. Ponder how you have used this understanding to become a more a loving and hopeful presence in this world. Pray for the grace to grow in this regard.



Address God as a friend speaks to a friend. 

Talk to God about your response, your own needs and your deepest desires.

End your prayer with the Our Father, the prayer Jesus taught us.



Suggested Reading for Prayer

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.



Quote

"Hope increases when we help refugees to have faith in themselves and in their future. It increases when love is put in deeds of education and vocational training which transform past and present hatred into life, with the wisdom that enables reconciliation and offers them the hope of a different future." ~ Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J