Cats, Hamsters & Stories with Grandma: All in a day's experiences with Missionary to the City, Margie Randall
The day started by placing 7 Bhutanese refugee children on the church van for their Vacation Bible School adventure. It was interesting to note that some were from Hindu families and some from Buddhist families. I would love to have gone with them and share their experience but it was time to open the donation room at the apartments.
One man poked his head in the door to say that his air conditioner was not working and he needed to go to the office and report it. His granddaughter, Angel, age 3, wanted to stay with me. She loves to hold my cell phone and look at all of my pictures. As she sat beside me, and looked through the "album", she knew my cat, Cookie, and hamster, Peter, and some of the Bhutanese, but when she saw my picture, she said "grandma". I met her family in November 2008 when they first arrived in America. They were one of the first Christian families in Houston, so when she was born, she was named "Angel". My eyes swelled with tears because her Bhutanese grandmother died with liver cancer less than a year after arriving in America
After she left, it was quiet in the apartment for a short while, and then two little girls came to "shop" for new used clothes. They have grown rapidly now that food is readily available to them. When they finished "shopping", two more children came. One was complaining that he had no socks and his sport shoes were hurting his feet. As he and his sister shopped for some gently used clothing, they started singing a song that Leslie and I taught them in Kids Club. It was to the tune of "Dingo is his name O", except Jesus was substituted. They both told me that they love Jesus but they do not receive support for their faith from their Hindu parents. I said "pray for them". Just then some more Bhutanese came for diapers, toothpaste, tooth brushes etc. One lady needed rice for her relatives that had just arrived and won't have food stamps for 30 days. A family, who is moving to Ohio soon, came looking for winter clothes. You never know what will be requested-- like winter clothes when it is 90+ degrees, etc. It is always a pleasure to be the feet and hands of Jesus to give what is given to Loaves & Fishes.
A Congolese lady whose husband was killed in front of her and who fled to America for a new life, came for diapers for her baby, but when she saw I was having pain in my knee, she went home without a word, and brought back a tube of medicine (instructions in French). I explained about my allergies and gently refused the medicine. I knew she was Christian, but to my surprise she knelt down and laid hands on my knee and prayed for healing. I believe God brought the nations here to me to teach me about faith. As she prayed, I could not help but think how strong her faith must have been in Africa when there were probably no doctors or hospitals, but only God to rely on for healing. How about when you are running for your life with a small child and have only the clothes on your back? That required some faith as well. The day ended for me and my volunteer helper, who is about to go on her first mission trip, with a Nepali/Bhutanese home cooked meal.
In Claudia Kolker's book "The Immigrant Advantage", she talked about what we can learn from other cultures. It is so true.
Margie Randall, UBA Volunteer Missionary to the City,has served the Bhutanese/Nepali speaking refugee population in Houston for the past four years.