Kyle and I started doing something a little crazy...we started teaching English to Syrian Refugees. It all started about two months ago, when a good friend of ours from church, whose calling (or job) at church is so assist the community with any needs of local refugees, told the congregation that he was in need of English teachers. I have a degree in English, and took elective English Teaching courses in college, knowing that Kyle and I would likely be overseas, and thinking those might come in handy! And then there's Kyle: the most charismatic and likable man you'll ever meet, who, though he would never ever tell you so, is an excellent Arabic speaker. As soon as I heard the announcement, I ran to Kyle's class and pulled him out in the middle of church! My mom offered to watch our kids each Monday night, and the rest is History--We started teaching a week later!
From the moment I met our students, I fell in love. I have never met people so generous and warm, so faithful and resilient, so devoted to their families, and so eager to learn! Our first night teaching, we told the students about our family. When it was their turn to share, our students talked about their brothers who had lost their lives fighting ISIS. Kyle and I drove home that night in humble silence.
Last week, a family we teach invited us over for Sunday dinner. We walked in the door and were greeted by beautiful, smiling faces. They picked up our children, squeezed their cheeks, kissed their faces, threw them up in the air, and graciously welcomed us into their home. Our children were passed from person to person throughout the night, and London was like their red-headed porcelain doll. We all sat on the floor and ate a traditional Syrian meal, with our hands! There was beef, stuffed eggplant and zucchini, soup, pita bread, stuffed grape leaves, tea, pineapple, cherries, chocolate frosted cake, apples, bananas, and hot chocolate. Each time I ate one thing off my my plate, our host would reach over and add something else for me to eat! There were six courses, and every. single. thing. was SO DELICIOUS! How I have missed those Middle-Eastern flavors!
Their little girl, who is just a few weeks older than my twins, didn't leave my side the entire night. I held her and read her stories, and she cuddled up on my lap like an angel.
How is it possible? Forced from their homes, losing their friends and family, their communities, their jobs, all of their belongings, everyone they have ever known is scattered all over the world in whatever country would allow them to escape to, and they are in a foreign country whose language they cannot speak---and yet, they have enough love in their hearts to welcome me and my family into theirs. Sitting in their living room, listening to the beautiful Arabic language, I felt completely overcome.
I can't believe that Kyle and I have this opportunity. Teaching our students each week brings me so much joy, there are not words to express it.
I was hesitant to blog about this, but then I realized---So many of us are so caught up in the absolute insanity of our lives, that we forget to look outward and serve others, and maybe reading our story will inspire you to write one of your own. Find something, anything, that you are passionate about giving of yourself to, and a zillion little pieces will fall into place, making it possible. It might be refugees, homeless veterans, at-risk youth, cuddling NICU babies at your local hospital, or something else entirely. Your life will become infinitely richer because of it, I promise.
"Even the smallest of things that you do blossom and multiply far beyond you."