41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
When we think of generosity, most of us probably envision large donations from athletes, actors, politicians, or the wealthy, usually intending to accomplish an audacious goal like curing a disease or ending world hunger.
The Coyle family sees giving through a different lens; a quieter generosity. When they think of hospitality and generosity, they see refugees.
The Coyles began volunteering with World Relief just over five years ago. The family of five, Danny and Bonnie, as well as their children, Debbie, Michael, and Hadassah, planned on becoming missionaries in India, and hoped they could mentor a Nepali or Bhutanese family; two of the many people groups we resettle in Spokane.
“I guess God had different plans for us,” Danny said with a laugh.
World Relief staff placed the Coyles with an Iraqi family five years ago, and the two families have since become one.
“We’ve just really enjoyed getting to know them; getting to know their culture,” Bonnie says. “We’ve loved becoming their friends.”
The two families are currently celebrating one of the Iraqi family’s daughters, who recently took home the Cooper Jones Award at her sixth grade graduation. The award was a special surprise for the families and recognizes the kindness in the girl that every parent hopes to see in their child.
The daughter’s kindness, as with most children, is likely a reflection of the character she observes in her parents. The Coyles see this in the generosity and hospitality of the multiple refugee families they now mentor. Their giving nature doesn’t make headlines, but it makes an impact.
The family tells plenty of wonderful stories about refugees’ generosity, but one stood out.
When Bonnie gave birth to Hadassah just over three months ago, the family said they were almost overwhelmed because five families showed up at the hospital to celebrate with them.
“As we reflected on that over the next couple weeks, we saw how special it was,” Danny said. “They all brought gifts and just wanted to pour into our lives. It’s always been like that.”
Often, the Coyles will spend hours at the homes of refugee families, where the families make and serve them dinner. Days where the families spend less than a couple hours together are the exception, not the rule. Celebrations of each others triumphs, like the award and impromptu baby shower, are standard.
“I think I’m learning what it means to be hospitable through the way they’ve shown that to me,” Bonnie said.
Bonnie may be understating her family’s impact though. In their five years of volunteering with World Relief, the Coyle’s serve refugees with open hearts and big smiles. In addition to the families they mentor, Danny and Bonnie help refugee children with their homework, taught new arrivals the Spokane bus system, and even set up doctor’s appointments.
They do it for many reasons, including as a way to live their Christian faith.
“We’re called to love those who are hurting; the least of these,” Danny said. “People are coming out of situations where they’re really desperate, which gives us an opportunity to reflect Christ’s love to them in the way we think he would want us to.”
In that way, the Coyle’s are showing off some generosity of their own. Like their refugee friends, they provide help where they can, within their unique circumstances to make a positive difference.
For them, it doesn’t seem to be about how many copper coins you have. It’s about how they and their refugee friends make them count.