We use the phrase “Home is where the heart is” quite often without really thinking about what it signifies in the lives of people in other situations. Today my eyes were opened as I volunteered with Kate Foster, the Church Mobilizer/Volunteer Coordinator at World Relief Memphis. World Relief helps refugees escape war and persecution, and gets them started in their new lives in the United States.
When I arrived at the office housed in the Union Avenue Baptist Church building, I was very excited to learn the details of my assignment. All I knew going into the day was that I would help a refugee family fleeing Afghanistan by setting up their new apartment, a job right up my alley because I do some freelance home decorating. Naturally, I was thrilled at the idea of creating a haven for a family seeking safety, even more so when I was told there would be a baby involved. I was also asked when I arrived at the office if I was comfortable loading and unloading furniture. After 17 moves in 20 years while married to a Marine, absolutely!
I worked with Logan, a 24-year-old college student with a huge heart for serving and helping others. Imagine the shock on his face when he was standing before me and was told that I, at 5’1″, would be helping him move an entire truckload of furniture. I quickly introduced myself and assured him I was up to the task.
The coolest and scariest part of my day was going to the warehouse that housed all the furniture to go into these apartments. It was exhilarating because it was like having an entire store at my disposal and scary because of all the possible spiders! Logan and I picked out lovely lamps and furniture, but my biggest joy came from hand-selecting bottles and a pack-n-play for the baby.
When it was time to move the furniture into the apartment, we were told it was not yet ready, this was very disappointing to me. I felt incomplete by not finishing my job. I, after all, had hand picked furniture from the warehouse and wanted to place it in the apartment to make it a home for this new family. Oftentimes things do not turn out as we plan, but at the end of the day, I made new friends and found a new place where I hope to volunteer my time. I would love to work as a tutor with the children who are relocated here in Memphis, teaching them new life skills and helping them adjust to entirely new surroundings.
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