About 6 months ago, my friend Karen told me about the work that World Relief is doing for refugees that the government is settling in Clarkston, Georgia. My family was immediately interested in this effort and has done a little bit to help out, but I have to admit that I have trouble fitting "helping" into my schedule. It is really my 7 year old daughter who constantly pushes the "helping" issue to the front. She has a heart for people in need, and has been reminding me, "Mommy, you promised we could go help the refugees this summer."
So today my daughters and I helped to prepare an apartment and buy groceries for a refugee family from Bhutan that is arriving on a plane tonight. I don't know this family's particular story, but most of the refugees that come to the United States have been struggling to survive for years after being forced out of their homes. As we cleaned the apartment and neatly arranged all of the donated items, I thought about how the "stuff" part of life is much easier than the "relationship" part of life. The only thing missing today was the actual family.
I found that it was pretty easy to give up a little of my time and a little bit of stuff. But World Relief asked if we want to go back to meet the family, get to know them, help them with life. Am I ready for that? No, but my daughter will talk about it until we do it. Our encounter with this family will probably be inconvenient and uneasy but ultimately a good thing. I think even when we feel too busy and too uncomfortable and drag out feet all the way to doing what's right, God still smiles and lays his hand of blessing on us.
I am reading straight through the Bible and ironically this was the chapter set for me to read today -
"Is not this the fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice...to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter...If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." portions of Isaiah 58