Have you ever ridden on a motorcycle with your spouse and four children? Yeah, me either. It sounds impossible. But when you’re fleeing bombs in Syria, you do the impossible.
✓ Transporting your entire family on a single motorcycle.
✓ Patching bomb holes in your dining room.
✓ Leaving your home and country, taking absolutely nothing with you except food and water.
✓ Walking through the wilderness at night to cross the border to a safer country.
✓ Living in a sea of tents in a refugee camp.
✓ Waiting four years—unable to get permission to work or for your children to be in school—to be accepted as a refugee to the United States.
✓ Arriving in a new country, knowing no one, not knowing the language, and making a living and a life.
This is Mohammad’s story. And author Shawn Smucker’s, as told in Once We Were Strangers. Smucker tells us Mohammad’s story mixed with his own realizations about friendship—lessons learned from his relationship with Mohammad about the inadequacies of most American friendships:
“I realize that in most of my friendships, so little is required of either party. In America, we’ve valued independence for so long that we haven’t recognized the gradual slipping into loneliness. Now we fend for ourselves, depending on no one, asking nothing, and, because of that, receiving so little.”
Smucker is a beautiful writer, and the story moves along at a quick pace (for us, not as it was lived by Mohammad and his family). You won’t want to stop reading (I didn’t). And we’ll be thinking about it for a long time to come. Maybe we will even be inspired to reach out to people who look or worship differently than we do, turning strangers into friends.
I’m excited to have a copy of Once We Were Strangers to give away!
Here’s the deal: Share this post on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, and then put a comment below telling me you’ve done so and where. If you aren’t on ANY social media, admit that in a comment (so sad—Or maybe wise!) and tell me the first name of someone you told about Smucker’s book. Monday evening 10/15, I will pick a winner. That way if you don’t win, you still have time to help someone get chickens. Say what?! Read on!
If you preorder Once We Were Strangers before 10/16, the publisher @Revell will donate chickens to refugee families through the incredible organization, Preemptive Love Coalition. Order from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Books-A-Million, ChristianBook.com, or Baker Books, and then enter your order info: http://eepurl.com/dItI_j
Don’t miss this book. Your life—and maybe your friendships—will be richer for it.
I was privileged to received a prepublication copy of Once We Were Strangers; but the review is my own.