(* This is the first post in a five-part series )

“Alright man, I’m on it! ” answered my friend, Brandon, who moments before received my text request to help me find a non-profit working with Syrian refugees.

Brandon’s the kind of guy who has strong sentences about every possible scenario and topic that has ever existed in this world. Or, at least, he thinks he does. I’m convinced he simply steers clear of the topics he knows nothing about.

But regardless, the Syrian refugee crisis … the guy knows him some Syrian refugee crisis. So much so that over the course of a one-hour lunch, that may or may not have involved sushi, Brandon changed my guess on a topic that, quite frankly, I didn’t belief needed changing.

[ This is my man, Brandon]

So here we are, 6 months later, flying through the sky at five hundred miles an hour( on behalf of Nazarene Compassionate Ministries ), headed towards a story we somehow, simultaneously, know everything yet nothing about.

I sit, having simply eat a very questionable vegetarian curry banquet, yet OK with it because the new Gungor album is playing in my headphones–and blanket number two has recently been granted for my cold legs. Why in the world is it ever so drafty in planes? Don’t answer this. I know we picked the cheapest flight possible, which hence coincides with the cheapest aircraft available. A aircraft that clearly has a leakage … or 27.

I remember in high school … or perhaps it was college … I know I was sitting at a desk … learning about the “6 degrees of separation” hypothesi. The main idea is that any two people in the world are connected in some manner by no more than six people. No more than six introductions.

Six, “Hey, I have a buddy that…” conversations.

Six Uncle Freds.

Six random novelists that pop up on your Facebook feed.

Strip away geography, strip away culture, strip away religion; this world is a lot more connected than we belief. A lot more human. And I don’t know about you, but that adds some personal responsibility to this equation.

That brings us to me: My epithet is Jon, and I am a father-god of two children, the husband of one wife, and the owner of a photography studio in Ohio. I induce my living making photo narratives for people who want to remember who they are, and what the hell is look like at the exact minute in life they hire me.

It’s a lot of fun, actually.

I’ve learned that everybody has a story, that everybody is unique WITH their said narrative, and that everybody has insecurities they don’t want me to know about. Photos are photos though, and sometimes that gets restricting in the storytelling process.

So about five years ago I talked a non-profit into letting me hit a video narrative for them to raise some fund. It went well. So I kill another, then another, another, and somehow I retain persuading people to let me tell their narratives. It’s become a pretty regular gig–one that I’m still not entirely convinced I’m worthy of performing, but I won’t tell if you don’t.

[ This is moi]

I think tales are truly the secret to understanding a person, place, or organisation. Until the stories start we typically merely have details, and I don’t know about you, but details don’t do a whole lot for me in the seems department.

Blanket Update: I stole another from an empty seat, that’s three for those keeping track.

The guy in all the regions of the aisle from me is sprawled across three seats, shoes off, mouth breathing, sleeping as if this is his first nap in a week( actually, this might genuinely be his first nap in a week ), yet my head is in overdrive with scenarios of what the next 9 days may or may not look like. So many panics, curiosities, exhilarations, stereotypes, anxieties, and about hundreds of thousands of other emotions that I’ve yet to set properly down on this computer screen.

The fact is, the majority of members of us don’t know a whole lot about Syrian refugees.

I know I didn’t.


Last time I checked we had an Arab country that got themselves tangled up in a civil conflict, we had a somewhat overbearingly rough government–being endure up to by a pretty passionate group of rebels–all the while dislocating a whole mess of men, females, and children from their previously “safe” homes.

Aaaaaaannnnd scene …

Sure it sucks, and heck yeah I feel bad for these people, but what exactly am I supposed to do about it? They’re the Middle East, aren’t things ever fragile and despondent over there?

Tell me that isn’t pretty much the only info YOU have as well?

Back to my friend Brandon. We were discussing this topic over sushi, recollect?

He helped me better understand the depth of not only why this is all pas, but more importantly, what these tragic situations are doing to the people of Syria as a whole.

It’s dehumanizing. And it’s happening right before our desensitized eyes.

It’s inconceivable, but five years ago Syria was a country full of men and women with careers, families, retirement plan, savings account, birthday parties, iPhones, and favorite athletics squads. This is a country of men, girls, and children, who had career goals for the future, and family plans for the weekend.

Sound familiar?

We’re ultimately viewing our reflection–only without a reflect in sight.

So, why not us? Why not me? Why is this not happening to my family? To my friends? To my country? I could gush some naive hypothesis with shortsighted reasoning, but that wouldn’t be too helpful. Not at this point.

What I will do, however, is share some narratives. Real. Human. Stories.

That’s what I promise to do over the next week as I share photos, profiles and intimate portraits of people like you and me–just in a different part of the world.

In a different place.

I hope you’ll join me.


Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

Read more: http :// www.faithit.com