Serving Refugees

First-Year Reflections

About the Blog

We know, we know...The Beanie Blog is a strange name!  Did you know new JBU students wore beanies upon arrival way back in the 60's?  We enjoy that it is a part of our history and that it can remain just that...HISTORY!!  Here is some blurry proof!!

This blog was created in 2016 to provide a helpful resource for our current first-year students, parents of those students, and prospective students.  The first year is full of transitions as students adapt to a new place, new people, and have new experiences.  There are often very high highs and low lows that characterize the year as students get used to life at JBU.  This blog will hopefully help those reading it better understand what first-year students at JBU are experiencing at various points of the year and from various perspectives as contributors share their thoughts and reflections.  We hope this allows you to share in their experiences, ask great questions, and support them well as they trek through the year!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Post Photo

As I sat on the back bench of a 12 passenger van with a coffee in my hand and my head on the back of the seat in front of me, I realized I had nothing left to give. All of my energy was gone. I had come to the end of myself. We were driving down a bumpy road to an apartment complex filled with new faces from far away countries. As we drove I realized how much we had been doing every day, and the weight of the things we had seen started to sink in. The refugees of Clarkson, Georgia had been through so much, and I was taking a tiny peek into their lives during this week. However, it was Thursday afternoon, and I was tired. We had been helping kids in the school all morning, then explored and ate at an international market, and my stomach was starting to turn from the ethnic food we had eaten. Our leader described the after school program we would be working with; I realized how physically exhausted I was. I began to pray for strength from God, and I told him that anything that I was able to do past this point was all going to be Him because I had reached the end of me. I felt helpless and frustrated at my lack of energy. I wanted to be present and energetic with the kids, but I could feel how my strength was gone.

Once at the complex, we started to run circles on the playground in a game of tag under the warm sun, and in the middle of all the chaos I felt a little hand on my leg. Squinty little black eyes looked up at me. She was as cute as a button with her little pink skirt, black bangs and bob haircut. She just wanted me to pick her up and hold her while the older kids ran around us. As I looked into her eyes and saw her bright smile, I could feel the love and joy of God filling my heart. It filled me with energy to chase one more kid in tag and help another little girl up when she fell on the mulch. Every child’s innocent faces radiated pure love and joy. It was like a warm feeling inside of me giving me energy, and it was the answer to my prayer. God was providing the strength I needed for that day through the little children I was called to love.

So much happened during my week in Clarkson, and it would take more than one blog post to tell you about it. To fully understand you would have to meet sweet Sun, a refugee girl, or eat at the house of Besuma and his family, Muslim, Syrian refugees who fed and entertained us for hours. To appreciate Clarkson and refugees you would have to taste the rich, tasty Ethiopian, Vietnamese, Burmese, and Syrian food. Many of the foods I didn’t even know how to pronounce, but the flavors made my taste buds dance and sing. It would also take sitting with JBU alumni learning about how they are living in refugee neighborhoods, being good neighbors. It would also take helping Mursa, a refugee struggling to learn English, with her résumé so she can find a job to support her family. It would take carrying cement blocks to build a composition system for the new refugee garden, but most of all it would take Jesus opening one’s eyes and heart to the beauty that is Clarkson, Georgia. 

Blog HomePosted By: Camille Watson - 4/20/17 2:00 PM