First-Year Reflections

    

Thursday, April 20, 2017

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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 9:00 AM

 

 

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