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A Volunteer Story By Cindy Fritsch

Over the past year or so, I have found my volunteer involvement with World Relief to be an adventure. It has been rich in opportunities to grow in knowledge, awareness, understanding, compassion, and faith among many other things! I have sought to share Christ’s love with refugee families, have developed friendships with the refugee women and have helped to meet their needs in practical ways. Through these things, I’ve had the privilege of hearing heartfelt life stories, personal concerns, challenges, hopes and dreams. Gaining insight into their lives has increased my regard and respect for them, and it deepens my desire to be an encouragement and support in whatever way I can as they continue to adjust and adapt to life in America. It’s exciting to discover common ground and experience a friendship with these refugee women, even in light of cultural, life style and religious differences, as well as language limitations. I’ve also been inspired by their gracious hospitality and less hurried time schedules! These things and many more, along with the availability, input and support of the World Relief staff, who I have grown to really enjoy and respect, have enriched my life and has motivated me to further invest myself in the lives of refugees as God leads and opens doors of opportunity.

Important Dates 04/28/12 - Love Modesto (Big Valley Grace Community Church in Modesto - 04/29/12-05/4/12– Pray Modesto (Day of prayer for areas of community in Modesto - 06/20/12-World Refugee Day (Take this day all around the world to support and help refugees)

Love Modesto Experience

Car seat safety day!

By David Warter

By Brittney Boone

All of the volunteers met in downtown Modesto. There I met David, Karen and Elizabeth. Together we went over to Mohammed and Ruaa’s house. Mohammed, Ruaa, Nadia (7 years old) and Ahmed (2 years old) all met us at the door. They invited us in and we enjoyed tea and soft drinks as we learned about their experiences to date in the United States. We quickly learned that they had not had the opportunity to see much of Modesto in their first 10 days here. So, after finishing our beverages, we all went over to the library and Farmers Market. At the library, Mohammed and Ruaa both applied for library cards. Nadia’s eyes lit up when she saw the children’s section of the library. She was happy to have time to select ten books. Afterwards, we strolled the farmer’s market and talked about different types of foods that can be found in Modesto. After the farmer’s market, we toured through more of the city seeing the bus station as well as the Hudson station post office. As a group we then went to Freedom Park and enjoyed watching the kids play on the playground while the rest of us enjoyed a small picnic lunch provided by David and Karen. Overall, it was a great experience for all of us.

On February 9, 2012 World Relief hosted a car seat safety day. Modesto’s local police department arrived with a truck full of car seats. We had around 12 families arrive throughout the afternoon. They were so excited to receive their new car seats as well as instructions on how to use them correctly to make sure their child is riding in the appropriate seat for his or her age, weight and height. We hope to do other safety events like this one again for other refugees and families in the community. One thing that really surprised me was how many of these children were overjoyed by receiving a car seat. They were so grateful for something that was “theirs.” Some had never had toys or anything of their own until this day. To us at World Relief this made us thankful for all we have and how much we really take for granted. We are also thankful for those who came out to help that day, especially the police officer who came out in long sleeves and pants in full uniform and it ended up being a hot day!

Sign ups end April 22nd. There will be another Love Modesto Coming in September! Pick an event such as: Welcoming refugees, cleaning up graffiti, community gardens, and many more.

“Who’s your hero?” Men’s dinner By Brittney Boone On March 26, 2012, a group of volunteer men from our office hosted a dinner at Modesto Covenant Church for both US and Refugee men to come together to break bread and be in community with one another. Five refugee women donated their time and energy to prepare a delicious feast for this event. As the men were in one room talking, we found that the women had just as much fun chatting and getting to know each other in the kitchen. In total there were 27 American and 21 refugee men that came together to enjoy each other's company and to discuss current struggles, such as finding a job, and to seek ways to assist refugees to find early employment. The central theme was Heroes and Kirt Lewis, Church Mobilizer from our Sacramento office, talked about his experience as a soldier in the Iraq war. Then two refugee men shared their heroic stories about escaping persecution and adjusting to life in America. It was inspiring to hear how far they came and what they went through to provide safety for their families. We owe a big thank you to the women for preparing the delicious food, Kirt Lewis for hosting, the refugee men who came and shared their stories and their hopes and dreams, and to the American men who are passionate about serving the refugee men. Thank you Modesto Covenant for providing a wonderful space!

Want to donate monetarily? Contact Lori Aderholt at: (209) 521-2448, Phone: 209.491.2712 ext.103


World Relief newsletter April 2012