Recently I returned from a trip to my native state of Virginia. As I drove over the Appalachian Mountains, just as the sun was touching the landscape for the first time that day, I saw an incredible sight. Multiple colors of yellow, red, blue and purple rising gently, yet boldly, over the Blue Ridge peaks just west of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. It was a moving experience to see God’s handiwork.

Some 15 hours later, I arrived in Lewiston, where I have been a resident for nearly 5 years. Just as I had experienced the multiple colors of God’s beautiful colors rising over the Blue Ridge peaks, I returned to a community rich with ethnic diversity: black, white, yellow, brown, all straight from the Creator God’s palette.

You see, the true Creator values diverse ethnic identities. Why? Because He made them in His own image and in His own likeness.

As Moses, a dear Jewish man, wrote: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness…so God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female. He created them. Then God blessed them….Then God saw all that He had made and indeed it was very good…'” (Genesis 1:26a, 27a, 28a, 13a)

To God every life is precious. The Somali people are precious. We are blessed to have them as members of our community. We are a rich nation, blessed with many resources.

Jesus Christ the Lord of my faith calls me to love my neighbors. The Somalis are my neighbors. They are your neighbors. Let us rejoice! Bless these welcomed guests who have come from afar. My door is open to them.

May they find a home of love and support here. May we pull together as a community and rise above those who would seek to destroy the beautiful mosaic that God is painting for His glory.

Rev. Jon Mark Vermilion, pastor

The United Baptist Church

of Lewiston,


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