Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

  First things, first...
An apology to you, my reader
for not updating sooner. 

May the plethora of pictures
satisfy you, until my next AWIP,
or entry.

A few weeks back, my sister Valerie,
made the best decision of her life
and got her little sister (for her birthday)
a 3 Day Pass to Austin City Limits.

The get-away could not have been 
more timely. Plus, I missed my sis.

My roommate, Elizabeth, and myself
hit downtown Fort Worth for a little celebration!

She got the Job at World Relief!
Aren't we cute?

Happy Birthday Susan!!
In-N-Out Burgers, (wild fries for me!),
and a FroYo treat, sent her off into another
year of life. Plus! By request, from Susan,
Andrea and myself prayed for her!

I've begun working with the
Church Mobilization program at World Relief-Fort Worth.

If you didn't know, World Relief's mission statement:
"To empower the local church to serve the most vulnerable"
means lots of face-to-face contact with pastors, leaders, and so on.

I had the opportunity to work the WR table at
Texas Women's University (where boys attend as well),
Volunteer Fair!

can be fun. 

Especially when you're getting treats
and all the answers--from an inexperienced tutor.

Somali group.
What more can I say?
African women, crafts and group discussion...
I think I'm in love.

Africa, we shall meet -- oneday.

My two divas, above, are perhaps the 
only consistency here in Ft. Worth.

They knock at my door, everyday.
With out avail. Rain or shine.

It's a sound, I wouldn't say I look forward to,
but a sound that always requires the Holy Spirit 
to do His work and pour out grace.

I'm very fond of them to say the least.

Girls Night #1 - American Style.
Mad Gab, pot luck, and silly stories.

A visit to the Pumpkin Patch in Arlington, TX
get's me in the Fall mood.

Pumpkins have now overtaken my small apartment.

Girls Night # 2 - Nepali Teen Style.
Cookie decorating, Gospel sharing, chicken nuggets,
crafty frames, and Another Cinderella Story.

Plus a different form of Mad Gab...
the kind we like to call "refugee talk."


The past weeks have been fun really fun!
The highlights were perhaps:
- hearing Cold Play at ACL
- praying for Susan in the name of Jesus
- a Nepali dance party (after school)
- finding out one my Nepali friends came to know Jesus.

and a side note...
Cyndi Lauper, you were right!
Girls just wanna have fun.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How To: Airport Pick-Up

A "How To" can be effective for many reasons... Here in Refugee Land--there's no such thing as an effective "How To." My softball coach used to say, "there's a million different situations, and you have to be ready for every one of them." I concur. Here's just ONE situation.


So, you're tasked to pick up refugees
at DFW Airport, eh?

Here's how to make it the best experience.
(From my experience)

It's easy enough, said and done, that 
you are to get papers, directions, and gate number
from your tasking "officer."
That's the easy part... 

2.) DRIVE 

I highly suggest a list of cool tunes
for the long trek. Mine?

1. "It's a Beautiful Day" - U2
2. "Lost!" - Coldplay
3. "Comes and Goes In Waves" - Greg Laswell
4. "Wake Up" - Arcade Fire
5. "Cath" - Death Cab for Cutie
6. "Other Side of the World" - KT Tunstall
7. "Let It Be" - Paul McCartney
8. "The Blower's Daughter" - Damien Rice
9. "Trouble Is a Friend" - Lenka
10. "Counting Blue Cars" - Dishwalla

Um, I decided you should make your
own playlist. Mines good for me.

This taste is not for everyone.

This is the part of the how-to
where you pick up your refugee family...

They're actually quite easy to spot.
You don't even need a sign.
Just smile at them and say 
"Hi, Welcome to America!"


The Situation:
The family, followed another family up an escalator
AWAY from the baggage claim and us (the pick-up crew).

In this situation, humor helps...
 annnd, that's the quote of the day.
So you wait.
And wait.

It's and International Airport.
They are easy for us to find,
but not necessarily easy for others...
cough, cough, the AA people.

At this point of waiting,
the refugees could be anywhere,
except with us.


It would have been a clean
10 minute pick up. But it wasn't.
10 minutes turned into 1 hour and 45 minutes.

So here are some ideas to "kill time"
whatever that means.
Which one is it?

 "Sorry, there's nothing we can do.
They could be anywhere."
Thank you.

iPhone Apps are the best!
and eating is a must.

Trying to decide on an item
takes all of 10 minutes.
Time killer.

I chose the less nutritious item
and more expensive.
Again, it's whatever. 

Not familiar with this term?
It means exactly what it says.
And for crying out loud,
its an airport. Sooo many people.
Watch your little heart out.

6.) MAKE A NEW FRIEND - kinda

The person next to you.
The flight attendant.
The person picking up their baggage.

It's limitless.
Just don't be creepy.

and finally....

Eventually they show up.
Someone saves the day,
and the refugees will make it
to the luggage claim.

Its a glorious moment where
you're ecstatic
and they're...
confused and tired.

Then, its off to their new home.
Where they begin a new chapter,
and you flip a page in your book.

What are some ways you improvise in an airport?
Do share. This would greatly help... my sanity.

Becoming American

We the people
in order to form a more 
"perfect union"....

make tests to become an 
American citizen
really hard.

Just saying.

 A refugee IS a resident of the US;
however, after enjoying their first 5 years
they are to take a test in English
to become a "permanent resident."

Something like that.

First it's simple:
- How many colors are in the American flag?
-Who is the current president of the US?
-How many states are there in the US?

Then it gets a little harder:
-What are the duties of Congress?
-Can you name two Senators from your state?
-How many terms can a president serve?

Then it gets intense:
-Can you name the 13 original states?
-What holiday was celebrated for the first time by American colonists?
-What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?

Low and behold, 
I'm here to help them,
and teach them, 
the subject I so desperately despise.

Shoot. I don't even know some of the answers,
and that makes me feel a little, umm
whats the word? Privileged?
Glad I'm American?
Not sure.


Becoming American is hard.

It entails English,
learning facts about our nation,
that not even a "home grown" American knows,
off hand
without googling. 

It takes them two-three years to
study every word (and its meaning),
that could possibly be on the exam.

Then another year or so, 
to actually understand the questions.

Perhaps I don't get it?

All I know is that I'm glad
that there's a High Priest 
who makes intercession for me.

Because, I need it
and so do those refugees.

What do you think?

Is the test too hard? -or-
Should we all just 'get over it'
and learn the stuff?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

AWIP: Like Children

"A Week In Pictures" (AWIP) captures the ups, downs, ins, and outs of my journey here with the Refugees and World Relief. Pictures may not be of best quality, due to sporadic and sometimes unexpected moments, but you'll get picture (pun intended).

* * * * * * *

Like children,
we all have a long way to go...

Day 1

Waiting in line for immunizations,
while observing the "American Children"
for the first time, causes deep reflection...

Where am I?
Why am I here?
Who are these people?

Day 1

We must learn to communicate
(in a new language, for some)
... just to get by:
to eat
to live
to survive

Day 1

And speaking of eating,
check out this fancy slice
on a Monday night.

I mean, come on, 12 hour days
I gotta eat.
Day 2

If you know me,
you also know how I  
LOVE babies.

Babies are cute and all
but they don't have teeth,
they're super small
and cry quite a bit.

Didn't think I'd see
this guy for a while.
But there he is, in my car
laughing at my face, 
as I try --covered in sweat-- to get him in.

Car seats. 
'Nough said.
Day 2

Hey TB clinic!
I hear we're gonna be friends.
Or at least, I'll be a frequent visitor.

Day 3

As a child,
school enrollment is the start 
of a new chapter.

Oh the places you'll go--
as soon as we leave this place.

Be patient.

Day 4

Something your mom may not teach you:
iPhones are the best, for making new friends.

"Come on girls! Lets all cram 
our heads together to get a picture."
"What! You have a facebook?!"
"Me too."

Friends, period.
History in the making.

Day 4

And like Children, it takes us a while
to warm up to new cultures, much less,
new friends.

A prayer walk, through the complex
to find out how we can pray for the 
refugee families can be awkward at first.
But also, like children, 
we're shy at first sight...
and then we hate to see you go.
Day 5

Transportation is easy,
when you have a car.
So lets take the bus!

It'll take us where we need to go,
and at $3 a day, we'll make due.

* * *
... and God said, 
"Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, 
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
(Matthew 18:3)

It's not easy to become trustworthy,
super loving, innocent, and helpless.

But God's gotta plan,
and He's gotta way.

How have you trusted God, like a child, lately?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

To Bee or Not to Bee

This week, I've been learning a lot about immunizations. Everyone must get 'em. I know I got 'em. They're sometimes painful and otherwise... helpful.

Taking refugees to get immunized can be a daunting task.

I had to pick them up, take them in, get all their paperwork filled out, and assure the kids it would all be alright. At one point, in picking them up, I single handedly lost all my refugees. I drove around the complex, slowly, looking for traces of my refugees. I think we had a miscommunication.

I've stood in long lines, in scorching human body temperatures, and have tried translating many things; of which "sign this" was the only shared understanding. There were many times my hypochondria kicked in, and I was convinced I carried every disease and virus that the clinic was vaccinating. My patience continued to spread thin: with myself, the refugees and the vaccination people. 

But it had to bee done.

And that bee! It's cute and like all the nurses who vaccinated the kids, they smiled that cute little smile with glasses on their nose and a needle in their hand, and gave the kid a shot.  What a deception! It stung it's little stinger, and the kids didn't just cry. No. They SCREAMED. Those poor kids wanted to punch that bee in the face.

Often times, I got really nervous in line. I hate shots. I especially hate needles. I felt for the kiddos. When they cried, I shed a tear. "I'm really sorry, but welcome to America..." I thought. I didn't say that, but I did think it.  

Some of them were troopers. One little girl (pictured above, bottom left), gently moved her little sister aside and sat down. All she did was close her eyes and blink really hard when the needle went in... I wanted to cheer, but felt that kind of behavior completely out of line.

Overall, the experience was genuine. A shot in exchange for a lollipop and a ticket to school enrollment, is not too bad of an exchange. I learned patience, trust, how to fill out immunization papers and that sometimes we've all just gotta BEE.  And BEEing means taking care of people...

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, 
in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, 
to care for the church of God, which he obtained 
with his own blood.
- Acts 20:28

Sunday, August 21, 2011

AWIP: Learning has different meaning

"A Week In Pictures" (AWIP) captures the ups, downs, ins, and outs of my journey here with the Refugees and World Relief. Pictures may not be of best quality, due to sporadic and sometimes unexpected moments, but you'll get picture (pun intended). 

* * * * * * *

This week its been all about learning and somehow, 
that's taken on a different meaning.


Decorating for instance adds
hospitality and warmth.

A young Nepali child entered in
and said, 
"I think I will live here."

My grin was from ear to ear. 


Orientation in Ministry can mean
- thorough observation of ongoing activities
- reading through a "new kid" binder
- learning a few words in a different language
- finding new friends from afar


And here, at La Dera and World Relief
 Ministry looks a lot like relationship.
Relationship comes from love.
Love comes from Christ.

I think I like learning about
 Ministry here at La Dera.

 DAY 3

Reunion is a beautiful thing,
especially with Refugees.
I haven't seen my family in 3 days. 
They haven't seen their family in years.
* * * 
Learning a Second Language
takes patience from both sides.
Patience is also a learning process...
::Here's a shout out to all my teacher friends,
ESL classes, and those who know more than
one language. YOU ROCK:: 

Sometimes, if a refugee only learns the words:
and eye
(and can point to them),

I get REALLY happy. 

 DAY 4

College Registration and FAFSA. 
What more can I say?
If you're a student, were a student, want to be a student
you know what I mean.

I thought I'd escaped that,
...but for some reason
I was MORE than happy
to assist my friend in this process.

* * * 

And for all families...
they must be welcomed in
with a good ol' fashioned orientation.

(Couldn't escape that one either.)

so grateful to sit in on this part...
learning what they have to learn
helps me understand how far
they have to come, and how much
they have to do...
so I know where I can help them.

 DAY 5

Hospitality continues to bewilder me.
No matter what, 
you always get the best stuff...

Despite Ramadan
and a much more limited budget
I've never felt so welcomed.

Orange juice is a regular drink
'round these parts.
Milk, cookies and a book
can still happen on a Friday night
and rationing sweet tart chewy's through
out the week makes me appreciate
my sister so much...

 * * *
I love learning new things and I firmly believe 
we have a very Good Teacher. 

Even if learning takes you away from home,
to an impoverished area of a great big city,
in the home of a different nationality, religion or ethnicity 
I am right where I need to be.

What are some learning experiences that
have pulled you away from the 'comforts of home'?

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I'm the kind of person that likes to
hold it all together.

It's not something I take pride in,
because often it means holding back tears,
or being a leader after I've taken on too much.

But when water gathers behind my eye lids,
and warmth fills my heart
this "glue" sometimes comes undone.

Pride comes undone.
Feelings come undone.
Love comes undone.

* * *

Being 'glue' to refugees
is impossible. 

There are language barriers, misunderstood emotions,
different religions, hard journeys and broken roads (or pasts).

A small feeling of warmth enters my heart,
water wells within my eyes,
and God speaks:

"With man this is impossible, but with God
all things are possible... and everyone who has
left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother
or lands, for my names sake, will receive a hundredfold 
and will inherit eternal life." (Matthew 19:28-29)

So here I am: a melted-gluey-mess.

Spirit, show me where to go, how to speak, how to love.
Whether it's an airport pick-up, a case visit,
an open invitation to hospitality or wearing thin
till midnight... be my strength. 

"Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body..."
 (Philippians 1:19-21)

Pray for me dear friends and family.
God's work is never done, and I'm just a small part 
of a beautiful, messy and wondrous plan to bring all
nations near and afar to worship, love and commune 
with a powerful and awesome God.