I live in a ‘close’ or ‘cul-de-sac’ to Americans. In it are a number of families with children. A few days ago, as the weather has got better and the sun is up longer (time change), lots of kids have started playing outside after dinner. My two daughters have meet some new kids and made new friends. We found out the other day, some of the kids they are playing with are from a family that moved to London from Iraq.

Yesterday evening, like a good father, I went out with my daughters to play and to get to know some of the kids (as a youth minister its what I love to do). One of the boys I meet is 15 and his name is Hakil. He told me he and his family had moved to London 5 years ago from their village in Iraq. His father had moved here 9 years before that and it had taken him that long to make the money to afford to bring the rest of his family to London.

Hakil told me that there was lots of fighting in his village while he was living there as a young boy. I asked him if he was happy with what has happened in Iraq, in particular the ‘removal’ of Saddam Hussein. Hakil said, ‘He never did anything to me.’ But he added that it was a good thing since Saddam had killed thousands of people. This duality is very perplexing to many in the western world, but seemed perfectly normal for Hakim.

We talked about where he goes to school: Haling Manor (not the best school), about his favorite football team: Manchester United (it’s a big bandwagon), does he like school: No (not surprising). He told me he wants to be an engineer when he grows up. He wants to go to university and become an electrical engineer. I asked Hakil how he planned to use his education and what kind of job he wanted. Hakil said he wanted to move back to Iraq and help his country become a better place to live. He did add, ‘Now that Obama is president, everything will be better.’

Even with the gratuitous Obama drop, which are as common as the lame iphone drop (yes I’m jealous and marginally covetous of anyone with an iphone), what Hakil told me caused me to wonder if in a post-Christian, post-modern culture is the message of Christ that I am bringing and sharing giving more hope to people than the kind of hope that Hakil has? And am I living in a way that shows that I am full of the ‘living hope’ that is made available to me through the resurrection of Christ which graciously gives me an inheritance ‘that can never perish, spoil or fade’ (1 Peter 1:3,4)? Is my hope alive, vibrant, and visible for all to see?