Saturday, September 21, 2013

Welcome to the world, little one!

Yesterday morning, my sweet Burmese friend, gave birth to her second child, a son.

I had the privilege of visiting her in the hospital this evening and oh. my. heart.  That baby boy is beautiful!

It rather boggles my mind to think of what his life will be like here, growing up in the US, instead of in Burma (Myanmar).

I am incredibly grateful tonight to the people in my life who have led the way in investing in the refugee communities in our city (and others). Because of them (and unnamed others), I had the great joy of saying tonight to little David Thang, "Welcome to the world, little one.  I'm so glad you're here!"

There is ...

-my sister, who began volunteering with Refugee Support Services of the Carolinas a few years ago.  It changed her life.  She has introduced me to many of her volunteer and refugee friends and my life is richer for it.  Annie, you continue to inspire, as you pour yourself with infectious love into the lives of the children at the Help Center each week.  Thank you for inviting me along on this journey, bringing children to swim, introducing me to your friends, and sharing the joys and struggles of working with refugees with me.

-my daughter-in-love, Kandyce, who works for Ecumenical Refugee and Immigration Services in Denver.  When I have visited J and K, I've had the opportunity to go to Kandyce's refugee art therapy groups and seen her delight in the ways that her refugee clients and friends express themselves through their artwork.  Like my sister, she loves on these people, taking them to the doctor, the DMV, the grocery store, and so. much. more!  Her heart's been captured by quite a few adorable - and sometimes rather rambunctious - children.  I'm remembering a little boy named Prince!  What a character.

-my son, Matthew, who spent a summer working as an intern here in Charlotte, learning more about the demographic diversity of our city.  His efforts to understand the various communities went way beyond census data research.  He went to restaurants, barber shops, ethnic grocery stores and apartment complexes in the areas of our city where many of the immigrant communities have located.  He struck up conversations with people wherever he went and was invited into many homes.  People often asked me that summer if he was afraid.  What they didn't understand is that in the cultures of the Nepalis and others that he met, hospitality is key.  These newcomers were eager to talk with him, intrigued that he was interested in them, hungry for friendship.  His work that summer, plus the efforts of others in our church, have led to a greater awareness in our church family, of the needs and struggles of refugees in our city, and increased desire to share Jesus, and love in practical ways.

-my friend, Julia.  This young mother of four lives the Word.  She is an organizer, networker, tender-hearted servant, entrepreneurial-minded, compassionate, fun-loving, encouraging, deep thinking, lover of the poor.  I've had the great privilege of working with her the last few months to start a sewing class for refugee women called Make Welcome.  I cannot imagine trying to do this without her insight, wisdom, and organizational skill.

I am humbled by these people. They are giants to me.  They are some of my heroes.  They teach me how to love, how to practically care, how to be a friend.

Tonight, thinking of that precious new baby boy, I say thank you.


Carla said...

Sweet, sweet post...Beth! <3

Laura A said...

This is a great service. If I was overwhelmed upon moving to Italy, I can only imagine how overwhelming it must be to come to the US as a refugee. You mean more to these people than you can know.