Today I am feeling like a joyful, proud mama… but not of my boys. I am joyful for and proud of my friend R. R is an asylum seeker from Congo. (An asylum seeker is someone who flees for their life from persecution due to their race, religion, or membership of a particular social group or political opinion). The persecution, abuse, and exploitation that our friend, R, faced left her emotionally numb, not to mention the physical mental effects of probable head-trauma from multiple beatings.
This combined with her untreated diabetes, which causes brain-fog, plus the cultural barriers, which were more extensive than those in any asylum seeker I had seen, plus the language barrier, considering that she did not speak a word of English, plus her inability to work, since asylum seekers often wait 1-2 years or more before receiving their work permit… all added together to suck the life out of R. When I met her, she was a shell of a human. She spent much of her time sitting with arms folded, face frowning, and eyes glazed over. She was on the verge of homelessness, and had no family.
But God gave her a second chance at life. R enrolled in the DASH program (the ministry we started to help asylum seekers) more than a year and a half ago, and moved into our guest bedroom, since are one of the host families for DASH. R is the 15th person we have hosted in our 7 years of marriage. While it has intensely challenged us at times, it has been such a blessing to be a part of the healing and growth we have seen in R since she moved in, and in each person we have hosted. Sometimes I think we grow more and are more blessed than the person we are hosting.
Today R laughs with the joy of the Lord in her eyes as she tells us about how, after what seemed like an eternity of patiently waiting, while she lived with us and worked hard to learn English, she finally received her work permit. About 6 weeks after that she passed an interview (IN ENGLISH!) and got her first job in America. She then diligently committed herself to learn to drive and save for a car. Last week she launched into financial independence and we set up for her, her own apartment. “OHHH! I am a big, good driver now!” she exclaimed boisterously, full of life and health, as she burst into the door a couple days ago when she came to visit, on her own. She then immediately scurried inside, eager to help us with the family laundry. Though she has little, she is using what she has (Saturdays off work, and the ability to do laundry) to help and bless others in the name of Jesus.
Our God is a healer. Oh, how good it is to be a part of what He is doing, as His healing power marches forward, as the kingdom of God advances, one life at a time.