Friday, February 15, 2013
Every tribe, tongue, and nation raises voices together to sing two verses of Amazing Grace. In reality, it's only twelve countries gathered round pressboard tables rather than brilliant sapphire and radiant rainbow of holy glory, but still, to this sun-kissed white girl who grew up in an all-white neighborhood, went to an all-white church, and went to a school with only two skin colors, the rainbow before me is just as beautiful.
As they enter the room, they hug, kiss, even smile differently than the vanilla world I live in. Several of my students from Africa--now they know how to smile. It's contagious, those smiles, an impossible joy based on their histories, their present circumstances, their poverty and loneliness, separated from our country by a language barrier thicker and more impenetrable than most concrete.
I know the long hours these refugees work, the low salary they make, the menial jobs far beneath their intelligence that they take simply because they're what is available, meaning no one else wants them. They mop floors, clean hotel rooms, hand wash cars, wash dishes in restaurants, and sanitize public schools after hours.
One twenty-something man only two-weeks here from Malaysia tells me he used to farm rice, then worked the last three years of his life as a cook. Pizza and pasta. Do we eat Italian here in Louisiana?
Another young lady, alone in this new land with a four-year-old daughter--she speaks maybe two sentences week after week until last night when she bubbles forth unstoppable broken paragraphs of excitement. Some gracious soul had taken the time to write a short email praising the cleanliness of his hotel room. The ten minutes it took for him to express gratitude resulted in her being named "Employee of the Month," her salary bumped from $8 to $9 an hour, and managements' good favor.
The former truck driver cleans the casino but never stops smiling and laughing as we struggle to overcome each other's language barrier.
Kih-mee-KAA , they teach me last night. Scorpion.
I continue to be amazed at the great God I serve who sent the world to my doorstep so I could have the opportunity to fulfill the Great Commission even though I lacked freedom and funds to go in obedience.
February 14, 2013, marked the one-year anniversary of our group's first English as a Second Language (ESL) meeting. In His perfect timing, God-ordained that on the day our nation celebrates love, He allowed us to begin a ministry to show true agape love to all the nations in our community...
opening up our church doors, our homes, our pocketbooks, our minds, our families, and our very hearts to them.
And just like what normally happens, the more love we've given and the more of ourselves we've invested in those who come to learn from us, the more love we have received--exceedingly, abundantly, far beyond any love we have demonstrated.
That is a love to celebrate.
at 9:14 PM