Friday, August 4, 2017

making me braver

My friend, Michael, moved to Georgia today.  I stopped to say goodbye a few days ago, and besides wishing the best for him, I wanted to let him know how much he inspires me and increases "my brave".  

Three years ago, Michael and a few other friends from the Democratic Republic of Congo moved in kitty-corner to our house in Walnut.  They came to America by lottery and were escaping political corruption and civil war in their home country.   A few friends and I spent the summer of 2014 driving our new friends to English classes at a local church.  I watched them get jobs at Tyson Foods, and we escorted some of them to Hawkeye Metro to get signed up for a series of English classes that would start that fall.  I also learned that many of them had already gone to post-secondary school and held professional jobs in Congo.  Now, they were starting over.  

Fast forward three years.  This May, I had the privilege of attending Michael's graduation from Hawkeye Community College.  Over those three years, Michael and his roommates have learned English, worked difficult jobs at Tyson, gone to college, and even worked their way back from a house fire that burned most all of their possessions- both with sentimental value, and items they had purchased since arriving in the United States.    

I am in awe of Michael.  His grit.  His courage.  His faith.  His tenacity and perseverance.  I sometimes think about if the table was turned.  If I landed in Congo...away from my home, family, friends, culture....not knowing the language, nor the people, nor what resources were available.  That seems overwhelming to me.  As we were saying goodbye, Michael mentioned that God had helped him, but that people like me had helped him too.  On days when I feel like life seems difficult and obstacles loom large, I say the same to Michael in return.  God helps me, but people like Michael help me too. His life inspires me to press in to struggle, and it's people like Michael, gracefully working through hardship, who make me braver. Continue to put your hope in the Lord, Michael, and Godspeed in Georgia.   

Isaiah 40:31
“but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”

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