This is something of a tribute to mom’s raising their kids in “a foreign land,” namely, America. There are three women who have made it into my life in the past two years who I feel privileged to know. Each one is beautifully unique and different, though, in common, they all call Iraq “home.” In thinking of how I ought to describe them to you, I can’t come up with anything that does justice…
Hind is a beautiful wife and mom of two rather adorable children. She is gentle and sweet and keeps a gorgeous home. Rasha is spunky and honest—also a young wife and mother of two (with a third on the way!). Asra is shy and true, always smiling, even if her eyes betray her fatigue. She is a mother of three. All three of these women are diligent and hospitable hostesses. They are extremely hard working—hoping and dreaming for their families’ futures. If I am half the mother/wife these women are, I think I will be happy.
I am a terrible English teacher. I can officially admit this openly. There is little I can do for a few short hours once a week that will significantly improve their English—this is frustrating. But I guess I can be a friend, and help what little I can. Charity and I are virtually their only company once a week on Friday afternoon. I do love being a friend to these remarkable women. Sometimes I feel like they do insurmountably more for me than what I do for them.
I’d like to take some courses on teaching ESL, maybe a summer session with Oxford Seminars? We’ll see. I’ve been talking with my parents some more about stateside refugee work. They’ve gotten more involved in Tucson’s refugee community. It’s neat to see. Dad has been helping some of the men and women start home businesses (furniture making, crafts, upholstery). Today on the drive home from PCM (our weekly “teaching” of Rasha and Asra) I just cried. I kind of just “let God have it.” Not that I was angry with Him, but I don’t know who else to get frustrated about this with (I did end up calling mom). I love this family so much and all I want to do is see them succeed. I want to see them begin to enjoy life here. I want to see them find jobs, get the kids in the right schools, understand English enough so that they feel they can go out and be a part of the world outside the walls of that house.
There is a refugee ministry in Tucson that seeks to find families, churches, or small groups that will “adopt” refugee families. I’ve been thinking about this more myself—how much I want to adopt a family(/ies). More and more God gives me a love for people that wants to open a home to them—give my life to them. How much can “home and hospitality” be a ministry (?!), because sometimes I think I would be so pleased and content to work with the Lord in this way. How incredible to work teaching English, sharing home, watching kids (while the moms get out into the communities to learn, grow, and practice language learning), instructing home business skills (or simply finding outlets for already existing ones!). The world’s population of displaced is growing and so is my desire to see these families and communities succeed (on this side of the ocean and on the other—the needs are both the same and entirely different).
There is so much I wish I could talk to these women about. I want to talk faith and love; share life’s delights and frustrations; learn together; teach each other…We are able to do this to some extent, of course, but I mean carry on good, strong, deep conversations. I’m starting to pray that some way, some how, I will have access to a car next year so that I can keep up with them (you can pray, too!). Or maybe I’ll have to scout out the obscure public transit possibilities for getting to that side of town. Sigh. Life is beautiful, yeah? This world is full of so many different people, leading different kinds of lives…but really; we’re all the same, living the same kind of life. Hmph. In moments like this I sort of feel God smiling because of us.