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.