My friend Ler Pway and I woke up early this morning. It was chilly outside, probably 38 degrees F. We hopped into the 15 passenger van and took off for Denver International Airport. Once we got there, we parked, and headed inside towards the ticket counter. After waiting in a ridiculously long line, we were granted escort passes and waited for another 45 minutes to get through security. We constantly checked our phones, the flight was due to land at 9:40.
Once through security, we scanned the screens for our flight. Nothing.
I checked the paperwork.
"They should be landing at 9:40"
I called the case worker.
"oh no! their flight lands in Denver at 4:15. They land in Los Angelas at 9:40" She said.
Dejected, Ler Pway and I went back through the airport and got into the empty van.
The Karen family of 8 was in America, but we were just in the wrong place to greet them.
When I got off work later this afternoon, I went straight to their house. The were kids playing in the front yard, and various Karen neighbors gathered around. I went inside and saw that their two bedroom home was spacious and freshly painted, a nice change from the dirty, cramped apartments I've seen lately. The house was empty, but luckily I recently had someone donate a lot of furniture, rugs, and towels so I was able to supply a place to sit and some other goods.
I sat with the mom and we talked a little bit in Burmese. Can you imagine a cross continental flight with six children? Going to a destination where you have no idea what will happen? The strength of the woman next to me was astounding, but she was bone tired, you could see it in her eyes. As we sat together, two or three other Karen families entered, greeting each other warmly and bringing traditional Karen food for the new family. The mother explained to me that they had all been friends in the refugee camp. They hadn't spoken for ages, but now they were all together again. The warmth and love that filled the room was overwhelming, and I felt tears coming to my eyes.
Yes. This family is in a foreign land.
Yes. They have no idea how to get around, or how to speak the language.
Yes. Life here will be difficult.
But, they have their friends who can help them. They have a Karen Church community to support them. And you can believe that I will be there to do whatever I can to encourage and love this beautiful family.
Pray for Denver. Pray for the refugees here. Pray that we Americans will open our hearts and homes to the foreigners in our land. Amen.