Lately I've been thinking a lot about Isaiah 49. My family has had a long involvement in helping people that come from different situations. My grandparents housed, taught and loved a family from Vietnam with 6 sons. My parents took in a Vietnamese family of 6 when I was Ada's age. I loved them. We've recently gotten involved in the Utah County refugee program. It's different than it was with the Vietnamese families. They assign 5 families to care for and teach them refugee families in the area as their government benefits are running out. Jer, my parents, my brother Seth and I have been assigned to help a man and woman from Myanmar. We're mostly to help Cung. Pau's been in the US for 5 years and has a good grasp of English, has a car and a job making sushi in a grocery store. Cung only speaks Burmese and has been here for 8 months. We think that they were religious refugees. They're Baptist, and the political climate in Myanmar is anti Christian. Christian children aren't allowed into school, and other similar situations with adults and persecution. We've been getting her to a morning English class, trying to figure out health care and trying to find them a two bedroom apartment. It's been so neat to start to get to know them. We enjoyed having them over the other day for dinner and games. She's very shy unless she's interacting with my baby. She seems to enjoy his company a lot. The kids pray for them every day and are patient with me when they have to be in the car more often to take people places. It's been a joy.
I have a second family with needs just like the refugee family. They do not have refugee status, but the actions that I take are similar. The ward missionary that I worked with in one of my wards in Ecuador came up here. 14 years ago, her husband moved here. He was too old to for high school, so he never was taught any classes in English. He worked in PF Changs for a few years until he decided to move back to Manta where he met my friend. They were married and had a baby girl. 7 years ago, he decided to move back up to Utah to be with his 8 brothers and sisters. My friend stayed in Ecuador to care for her mother who had cancer, her daughter, and work as a school secretary. The husband has been working in a car paint shop and still doesn't know more English than just to get around with. He asked for his daughter to come visit last year. She came and loved it here. Then the earthquakes happened in Manta. Their home was destroyed and had to be rebuilt. She told me that they had the sister missionaries there visiting. The one sister missionary stood up and walked to the other side of the room just before the earthquake shook the wall that she had been sitting next to down on top of the room. No one was hurt by mere seconds. She talks about still having nightmares of the room shaking. After that, their 12 year old daughter refused to come home, so she came up here. She quit her job, came here with little English training and wants to stay to raise her daughter. The hiccup was that she is pregnant with another man's baby when she came. She had no more than a few hundred dollars to her name. Most of the husband's family shut her out and will not help her. One sister in law took pity on her and let her stay on the couch of her 2 bedroom apartment where they already had 5 people living. I helped get her prenatal care, emergency Medicaid for when the baby was born (3 weeks early because of preeclampsia), postpartum care, and friendship. In the time that she's been here (just a few months), she's had so many changes. She didn't know where to get breast pads when her milk came in. She's listening to her mom beg her to come back to Ecuador. She's been through counseling with the Bishop and Stake President.... now her and her husband want to find a place to live together as a family.... and neither of them have any credit history.
These needs are around us every day. I didn't know that my missionary friend was here until a missionary friend of mine up here asked if I'd gone to visit her yet. Needs are real and right here.
22 Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.
25 But thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.
One of the neat things for me is that Manta was a harder area for me to be in. My 2 companions in that area were difficult. The ward missionaries were my only connection to something stable. Cristian, Cristina and their mom cared for us and still care for the missionaries today by the sounds of it. I get to help back. When I needed, now I can give.