Friday, October 24, 2008

Just in from Africa!

This Wednesday I had the chance to do something I've dreamed of for a long time. I got to go to the airport and meet a new family arriving from Africa. As the daughter of missionaries, I remember when the newcomer from Africa was me! I joined Mike, the World Relief caseworker, in welcoming this lovely, soft-spoken woman and her three daughters. They are Muslims from the Darfur region of Sudan. When war came to their home, they fled to Ethiopia where they have lived for 3 years. The woman's parents and siblings also fled, but she does not know where they went. She has heard that many refugees from Darfur are living in Chad, and she plans to begin looking for her missing family members as soon as possible.My first sights of America always left me breathless. I saw that same sense of wonder, fear, anticipation, confusion, and joy in the faces of my new little family. Mike picked up a Chinese take-out lunch of rice and chicken -- exactly the foods this Sudanese family eats in Africa. How's that for a cultural melting pot?
While their mother signed important papers at World Relief headquarters, the three girls and I cleaned up the lunch and then drew pictures on the marker board. These two girls have been to school, and they knew how to draw many lovely things.
Little sister discovered a turkey that gobbled, a bunny, and several other toys. While most American children would be amused only for a moment or two, these girls were mesmerized and delighted with the stuffed animals.
Mike said they could take the toys to their new home. That's not all they'll be taking. African songs, traditions, beliefs, hopes, and dreams go with them . . . Slowly they will learn about America and begin to grow comfortable here. Pray with me that God's grace will abound and that their hearts will soften to the greatest Love of all.


Marilyn Crabtree said...

What a blessing you must be to these new refugees who come from a country that you know so well. I know you can be a tremendous blessing to them as you meet their physical needs as well as spiritual needs. Our prayers are with you as you help them learn to adjust to the ways of America and are able to share Jesus with these who are living in darkness.
Marilyn Crabtree

Sharon said...

Not only are you one of my fav authors but I just love the work that you are doing with refugees. I'm an MK and our daughter and family work with Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia. Now I'm wondering whether this lady and her daughters came from the Sherkole Refugee camp near Asossa? There are a number of D. refugees there. Our prayers are with you as well as the many refugees who have such huge adjustments to make!