"After many months of training and anticipation with the other members of our Good Neighbor Team (from The Church of the Good Shepherd), it was a real joy for my family and me to finally meet our new Syrian friends at the airport. They have been on a long journey since departing their home country, exacerbated by the difficult health challenges that twelve-year old Aya faces.

We shook hands and exchanged greetings. My girls (ages 9 and 7) mostly communicated with Aya through shy glances that soon became playful smiles and hugs. During the short time at the airport with Aya, her mother, and her aunt, we had more questions than answers about their story and circumstances. We told them that we represent several local families who have been preparing for their arrival for many months. We shared our excitement of their becoming our neighbors from a faraway land. My wife, Sarah, brought them food and drinks as we waited for luggage and arranged logistics to get them to the hospital and then to their apartment. As the luggage conveyor belt began circulating in the baggage area, Sarah presented our small gifts to the weary travelers.

 
 

As we later reflected on this first meeting with our new friends from Syria, we marveled at how much courage, stamina, and hope they must have to come into a new and very different country and to encounter smiling strangers, while enduring the long wait with smiles and gratitude. We are blessed to have three new neighbors in our town and look forward to becoming good friends."

-Aaron McKethan (Good Neighbor Team Member)