Welcome to America, Part 2

This is the second of 3 parts of this story that I will be sharing here on my blog. Please read the first part of the story for better understanding.

It has been a few months since we first met Suan and his wife. Our first visit, the day they arrived from Malaysia, was the day we delivered the welcome pack. With several other Zomi refugees in attendance, as well as a staff member from Exodus World Services (EWS), we opened boxes, made beds, stocked the kitchen, and furnished the small studio apartment. Suan struggled to understand what was happening. Our daughters, while anxious to help, also struggled to understand. At four, eight, and ten, our girls had never before spent a moment of their lives in an environment where English was not the dominant language. Their exposure to non-Americans was scant. And here we stood in a cramped apartment with a dozen other people, struggling to communicate what shaving cream was for or inquiring where they would like their toolset to be.

I would like to say that that first day was an amazing, spirit-filling experience. But I would be remiss if I did not state how difficult those first hours were. Had our EWS friend not taken the initiative to schedule our next visit, I sometimes wonder if I would have just let things go.

But our second trip went better. It was on that trip that we made pancakes. And the third was even better. As we met other Zomi refugees and they became part of our lives, we realized that we had become something like an extension to their urban village. We were, in many ways, the outsiders hoping to be accepted, hoping to understand what was happening.

Suan, it turns out, has a gift for music. He was known in the Malaysian refugee community for his singing, and he is now the worship leader in the small Zomi church that meets in Rogers Park. Our first visit to that church marks a moment in my life that I will never forget.

Follow along with Part 3.

This is a guest post from my husband, Matt.  Matt is a software developer with an amazing gift for writing. His passions include theology, philosophy, grilling and reading. He wrote this story as a way to share our recent experiences with refugees and the organization that connected us with them. This is the second of 3 parts I will be sharing here on my blog. (We have changed some names for privacy.)

No comments: