Saturday, September 24, 2011

Opportunities to serve in the Piedmont Triad area

"Was there anything special that you saw, experienced, or learned in Fort Wayne, that you want me to share with the church tommorrow?" I asked Gail on the phone a little while ago. She was a member of our TCF mission trip team in June. We're giving a short presentation during the service, and she's already committed to nursery ministry during that time.

She reminded me of the opportunity she had to take a woman and her children home after Women's Club, and how the woman invited her into the home, evidently eager for an American woman just to talk to - to practice her English, perhaps, but also just to have a human connection, a friend in this new country. Gail said that was significant to her, and made her realize that is an aspect of international ministry she can be involved in, and she is looking for opportunities here at home in North Carolina, just to befriend an international woman and spend some time with her in true fellowship and trusting relationship. What a wonderful way to love as Jesus does! I'm so glad this is something she saw in our work at I-House, and that she loved it enough to want to continue it.

So I did just a little local research this afternoon, to help Gail, and others who may be hoping for similar opportunities...

Open Arms Ministries
This Winston-Salem ministry specifically serves Karenni refugees coming from Myanmar, in a lot of the ways we serve people in Fort Wayne - teaching English, providing transportation to appointments, helping to fill out paperwork, etc. I volunteered with this ministry for a few months before I moved. It's a good place to make friends with newcomers who are longing for relationship with someone they can trust.

World Relief
Here is a ministry in High Point that serves internationals, specifically helping in refugee resettlement. They want and need volunteers who want to befriend newcomer families and help them get adjusted to life in a new country. This means showing families where to find places, teaching how to use modern appliances and keep house, practicing English, helping with medical/hygiene issues, etc. These are things Hannah and I get to do at Little Burma!

Church World Service
I have not personally worked with CWS before, but they also serve international families in Greensboro and Durham, through refugee resettlements and immigrant legal services. Looks like another good opportunity to connect with families who need a friend to love them and spend time with them.

So there you go, Piedmont Triad Area! You now have some great places to look into, pray about, and connect with! If you know of other organizations/ministries that offer services in this area, please add their information in a comment below. And if you connect with one of these places and are blessed by the relationships you build, please let me know. I'd love to hear about it!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

To fight against a downcast soul

"My soul is downcast within me; therefore, I will remember you,
from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon - from Mount Mizar."
~ Psalm 42:6, NIV

This week I've been fighting to not be discouraged. I am anxious to bounce back physically, to see and visit with people, to get projects done, and to return to work at I-House. But it's hard when the mind and heart want to do things that the body is just not able to do. I really appreciate your prayers, and ask that you keep them coming! My neck, arms, and hands need to regain strength, and I need to build up more physical stamina to be active and social.

Memorizing and meditating on Psalm 42 has been really good for me lately. Today, I studied verse 6, and was very encouraged. The psalmists (the Sons of Korah) choose, in the midst of being downcast, to remember the Lord. I looked up the cross-references in my Bible for the three places that are mentioned, and they are territories that God promised to his people, and that he gave them. He kept his promises, and through his own power He blessed his people.

So today, I am remembering promises that God has made and kept in my life - and there are a lot of them! They are evidence of his faithfulness to me, and testimonies of the work he will continue... I can fight against discouragement and put my hope in him, because "He who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Our pet hummingbird

My family has been entertained this week by a new resident of our backyard. Mom has a hummingbird feeder, and in years past we were lucky to glance out the window at the exact moment a hummingbird buzzed in, took a quick sip-to-go, and flitted off to wherever it is that hummingbirds go. But the novelty of the here-and-gone bird has worn off, because this little one is here-to-stay.

As you can see, he pops in for a drink, and then... perches on the top of the pole. He stays there until another bird dares to cross his path - then he chases the other bird away and returns for more resting and sitting. We're wondering if he has a mate and a nest of little ones in the trees nearby, and maybe this is his version of "The Man Cave" - his little private getaway that preserves his sanity.

So I've made him my pet, and I have decided to name him Cummerbund... because I've been reading The Princess Bride for the 100th time, and it is my favorite name from the lineage of the Dread Pirate Robertses, and also the least likely name for me to give a real person some day. Someone ought to be called Cummerbund, and it might as well be the tiny, bold creature in the backyard who is extremely territorial about his sweet-drink hacienda.