World Relief: A Whole New World

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World Relief Memphis is located at Union Avenue Baptist Church, which is where I met Kate Foster.  Kate is the Volunteer Coordinator/Church Mobilizer.  She sat down with me and explained what World Relief is and what their mission is. Their mission is to help refugees that have fled his or her homeland because of persecution or well-founded fear of persecution through race, religious beliefs, social groups, nationality or political opinion.  World Relief has only been in Memphis since August 2012. Their main goals are to help churches rediscover the Biblical roots of Christian hospitality – welcoming the stranger and working with refugees as the replant their lives in the United States.  World Relief offers a number of resources including: cultural orientation, arrange housing, furniture, household supplies, enroll clients in government services, counseling, medical, English referrals, and employment assistance.  While I was at their office, I helped with the volunteer process by making phone calls to references for people who want to volunteer for World Relief.  Volunteers share what they have learned from years of experience living in the United States – the English language, how to buy groceries or fill out paperwork in a doctor’s office, and the ins and outs of American culture.

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This was definitely a whole new world. I was in my car on the way to pick up an Iraqi couple to take them to their doctor’s appointment.  I had no idea what to expect. I was nervous with a million questions going through my head for example. Will I be able to understand them? Will they be able to understand me? What will it be like sitting at the doctor’s office with them?  Once I arrived at their place, I was greeted with pleasant smiles and they introduced themselves.  Their names are Tariq(pronounced tar-ak) and Alyaa(pronounced all-lia).  I was surprised within a few seconds I had a calming sense that even though we didn’t really understand each other everything was going to be just fine.  After the doctor’s appointment, Tariq and Alyaa had big smiles on their faces and said thank you a million times, I knew then that I was truly blessed to have this experience through World Relief Memphis because even though there was a language barrier, God’s love can be seen in all languages.

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Matthew 25:35 says, “I was a stranger and you invited me in.”  As humans, we should always be willing to help each other no matter what the situation is.  I can’t imagine having to move to a different country away from my family and friends with a language barrier – not to mention – a whole new culture to learn. I am thankful for World Relief because even though we might speak a different language, we are all God’s children.  We are here to serve others but especially to serve God above all.  If you want to help World Relief, they are having a Spring Cleaning Donations Drive March 25-27.  Items they are asking for are: sofas, chairs, rugs, kitchen tables, baby items, and vacuum cleaners to name a few.  For more information please go to their website www.worldreliefmemphis.org/springcleaning.

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Thank you for reading! Blair Hayes is searching for a job where she can merge her enthusiasm for our community with her education and experience; she can bring a positive attitude ministering to high school students, college-aged students and families.  If you know of a great fit, please send it our way: jobleads@volunteerodyssey.com.

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