What do you see?

Written by: Angie Funnell: Ministry Development Specialist, WR Spokane

What do you see?

I see a mosaic of color in the darkness. I see resilience in the weary. I see grace in the pain. I see trust in a handshake or head nod. I see respect in silence. I see God’s Kingdom invading Earth, as followers are persecuted for their faith, and believers are persecuted by injustice. Survivors of these atrocities, we call our friends.

I am behind the scenes, but I listen. I see the hope in the hurting, as our friends wonder down our halls to meet with their new friends (Case Managers). As the Ministry Development Specialist, I raise money for these friends to become self-sufficient and replant their lives in hope.

Recently, World Relief Spokane had the privilege to host President & CEO of World Relief, Stephan Bauman and his wife, Belinda Bauman. Please take the time to listen to Belinda Bauman, as she speaks on behalf those who have been silenced and shares what she sees: Superhero Moms of Congo

Stephan and Belinda Bauman were the featured speakers for World Relief Spokane’s annual Benefit Dinner at The Glover Mansion. All proceeds went to a continuity giving program, which provides Refugee Sponsorship, for newly arrived refugee families. During their visit to Spokane, Stephan spoke to the University population at the Moody Bible Institute as well as the Gonzaga University student body. Stephan encouraged the students to ask themselves, “What do you see?” Bauman spoke to the injustice in justice and provoked conviction in silence. He encouraged us to enter into the hurt and vulnerability, because what we will see will change the pattern of our thinking. Stephan and Belinda urged us all, to be unapologetic, as we share what we see.

On behalf of the survivors of injustice we call friends, I leave you with this, what do you see?

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The Tigers That Corner Us..

Merideth  Jeffries holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and has been part of the World Relief Spokane community since 2009, serving first as an intern in the employment department and later as a Resettlement and Placement Specialist for two years. Deeply moved by the resilience and beauty of the people and cultures she was serving, she wrote a series of poems and essays about her experiences working with refugee communities in Spokane as part of her graduate thesis. The poems that appear here are the first section of a larger collection entitled, The Tigers That Corner Us. Names of individuals have been changed to respect their privacy. Merideth remains connected to World Relief Spokane as a volunteer tutor in creative writing for ESL students.

Written by: Merideth Jeffries

Duh Ceu

You barely made it through your education,

risking your life to sneak across the border

into India to study God’s word. And like Paul,

you went to jail for preaching.

I remember all the stories you told me,

though sometimes I doubted they were true—

like the one about the tiger you fought,

and catching swallows in butterfly nets as a boy

to take to market.

But mostly, I remember

the day I tried to do the right thing

and it was misinterpreted,

received with anger.

All you said to comfort me was, “When Jesus walked the world, many were healed. Demons fled from souls long suffering, sins were forgiven and still, they hung him

on a cross and put thorns around his head. “

And I remembered you said the tiger bared his teeth

as he tried to corner you,

that you were scared but you lived.

Girl From Tediim Township, Chin State Myanmar

This afternoon, Za Lun Mang sits on my lap. We look at photos

because we can’t speak to each other in English.

At the picture of the peony, she shouts, “Pak!”

She smiles and looks up at me, “Fl-ow-er: Pak,” she says,

not wanting to leave me out, teaching me.

And though I try to understand

what her mother means when she motions

to me or to something around the house,

or when Za Lun Mang laughs at my attempts at pronouncing

Lun Dam: Thank you,

I am left out,

and my country will does the same to her.

The Tower of Babel has swayed

and fallen, the bricks scattered into nonsense,

but Lord,  I think, it’s not a tower to heaven that I want,

only to listen better to this girl.

Moth Orchid

Moth Orchid, Phalaenopsis, thrives in warm climates, it  can be found growing wild in Parts of Burma, Malaysia and the Himalayas

I saw a moth orchid on the receptionist’s desk at work,

its fleshy, wine and white blossoms open. The stem curved

like a woman’s back, as it stretched toward the tinted window.

Last winter I ran into Van Nei Sung in Walmart buying groceries

with Zung Tin and saw a flake of snow still cold,

resting on the curve of her dark hair. She smiled warmly,

but I couldn’t help thinking she felt cold and far away from home.

My Hindu Friend Blesses Me

Gyanu tells me, his last name, Bahadur means brave,

his sister’s name, love.

“And yours?” he asks.

“My parents didn’t know when they named me,

but my name is Welsh for protector. I don’t know how well I do that.”

“No wait…  it means protected” he says.

I smile, thinking, how would he know?

“Someone,” he says, “Your husband, maybe someone from above protects you,

but also friend, it’s your moral obligation to protect.”

I know he is right.

But I measure the width of my hand

and see it’s only as wide as the mouth of my coffee cup.