I have held this image dear to my heart ever since I prepared his memorial program several years ago. This photo of little “George” could be the face of an immigrant child today. Please take a moment to burn his image into your mind. His story was never published nor shared with the exception of his family and close friends. His childhood home in the Dutch East Indies along with land holdings was occupied by enemy forces during WWII. He fled his country to save his life. George served in the Royal Netherlands Air Force during WWII. He was a prisoner of war and suffered torture to the edge of “death” until miraculously raised by the power of God. He was given a “mission” in life from that day. He served God the rest of his life honoring his family; making a decision for a new life in the U.S.A. post war. His skills proved very valuable to a U.S. Airline company. His life’s testimony grew along with his reputation during his well-traveled walk of faith. His family immigrated legally and became citizens in their new land with his legacy continuing today through his surviving children and their families. Stay tuned for future stories relating to his surviving family member’s visionary projects.
George brought his agricultural skills to North America. There were many tropical species he grew and propagated including the Banana. I marveled at his ability to grow this non-native plant in the U.S. Our food sources are often taken for granted and waste of Bananas is at the top of the list. Hundreds, perhaps hundreds of thousands of pounds of Bananas are thrown away when they begin to soften and develop brown spots. The Cavendish Banana is the most exported globally. They are dying in many areas from a fungus strain that lives in soil. There are other species of Bananas that should be introduced and marketed for their qualities. For instances, the best Banana I ever tasted was a small ripe yellow species from Labrea, Amazonas, Brazil.
George’s family never wasted food. My naivety at the time did not open my eyes to the cause and effect of his family’s living habits. Now, I have a thousand questions I would like to ask him if he were alive. We have never experienced a famine in the United States of America unlike countries where starvation claimed thousands of lives. I remember visiting his U.S. home and questioning why tin pie plates with flour were spread out over a large patio area in full sun. The answer was simple…bugs died in the hot sun and were easily sifted out.
A window into George’s compassion for people dislodged from their dwellings was opened when a major forest fire (declared a National Disaster) burned through many acres including homes and businesses. He asked our family to deliver blankets and various household goods to an evacuation site. I was moved at the time. That is why my saying to my dying day will always be, “Compassion requires Action” (quote by Karen Jo Waterford)
George was an immigrant whose contribution helped make our nation GREAT. Please take a moment to welcome a refuge. Perhaps it might be through a donation to a non-profit organization like Samaritan’s Purse (worldwide) or a gift to a local food bank. We are a nation with many immigrants. They were once strangers and are no more.
Author’s note: Your feedback is appreciated. This story has many facets and will be elaborated upon in future posts if there is reader interest.