Yesterday was a beautiful day not because it was easy, but it was a good. For nine months, we’ve responded to Austin's growing immigrant community. After visiting some of the same apartments, people’s stories and needs linger. The visits become personal.
On Monday evening, eight of us re-visited the home of a young mom from Myanmar – Ma Tee – who died of cancer last Friday. She leaves behind a husband and three kids – 12, 8, & 6. He quit his factory job two months ago to care for his terminally ill wife. She also left behind a sizable Burmese community of friends who, like her, were forced to make a life here.
We showed up with a bowl of fresh fruit, cards with a little money to help with funeral expenses, and a desire to comfort. Most immigrants struggle to assimilate because they often don’t have any American friendships. Being overwhelmed in a new culture, high cost of living, and language barrier…most crave the familiar, something that feels like home.
Thankfully, we were recognizable faces yet we also shared a recognizable faith. Before we were done, the apartment began to fill. Their extended community show up each night in solidarity to grieve, pay respects, and pray. The only way I can describe our prayer time is as a vibrant, full-participation “Concert of Prayer”. It was a chorus of agreement, calling on the name of the Lord…in sadness, through tears, with hope, and in unwavering faith. It wasn’t easy but it was so good!
It occurred to me, this is what happens when“Sunday School” leaves the classroom and becomes an exercise in humility, community, and hope. We simply can’t wait for people to show up to our parties, our worship, our small group meetings. We are sent people who can – and called by God — to bring the church to others!
Here’s to new life, faith becoming a Rhythm, & being changed from the inside out!