Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Community

By: Lori Blong

Tonight, I pulled into their dilapidated apartment complex, parked my suburban and got out. I walked through the sandy dirt and broken glass to her apartment where I knocked on the door. My friend opened expectantly and I slipped out of my shoes to respect her customs. I entered and we hugged. She took my baby from my arms and snuggled him close as she darted up the stairs to tell her friends that their bed was on its way.

A mom, a dad and three sweet kids came down the stairs smiling and chattering, giddy with excitement. They had been sleeping all together on one pallet on the floor for the three months that they have lived in Midland. They were about to get a king sized mattress. Could anything be better!?!
I watched with tears in my eyes as the truck pulled in with the mattress in the back. That sweet mama held her baby and smiled shyly as she watched her new bed being unloaded from the truck and carried into her apartment upstairs. The daddy smiled at her as he helped carry up an old recliner and new bedding and an office chair, their kids standing by in anticipation.

Jared pulled up and my kids got out to see what was happening. Caleb found his friends and started rough housing in the dirt with them. Language barriers don’t matter when you are only four. Merritt watched, totally overwhelmed, as sweet refugees began to gather around, to talk and celebrate the new bounty of their comrades. Jess continued to circulate the arms of these Asian mothers, smiling up into their eyes. My heart nearly burst as I watched my kids experience something greater than themselves.

Friendship…fellowship…community.

We walked across the complex, through the dust and trash, the cigarette butts and the glass, to another apartment. A pregnant mama came out, dancing and jumping for joy. She shook our hands and patted the heads of our babies, thanking us over and over. She didn’t know that we were really receiving the greater blessing. Her new bed meant so much to her…no more aching back from sleeping on the floor…better rest for her husband and her other three children…a glimpse of life improving for her family. But her joy and celebration at something we take so for granted…

Yes, we all received the greater blessing.

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For people in the Permian Basin, we are going to begin coordinating supply donations for our refugee friends.  So many of us have extra furniture stacked in storage units and garages and spare rooms.  And there are newly arrived refugees in our community with quite literally no furniture.  So, if you have household items you would like to donate, please email donations@scarletthreads.org and we will coordinate with you.  Please note: We are not a big organization with full-time staff and we are unable to provide pick-up and drop off services. We are happy to coordinate donations, but we ask that you make arrangements to deliver the items directly to the recipient.   Just consider it an amazing opportunity to get to know the local Burmese community!  We promise you will receive the greater blessing.

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