As we approach Christmas, the days are darker, the wind is colder, and some of our newest neighbors are getting their first taste of a wet Washington winter. Davida* is one of them.
*Name changed to protect identity
Davida’s life has been marked by a storm of trials following her family as they survived in one of the poorest parts of Nairobi. Some call it a slum or ghetto, she shares, but for me it was home. She had no idea what challenges she would endure in pursuit of safety and freedom. Coming to America was the toughest thing ever. She found comfort in two thoughts: My mum, knowing that she will never give up on me…and knowing that the God I worship is alive and keeping guard over me.
With great faith and courage, Davida is making a new home in Seattle, but she misses her family. Christmas is a time to spend with family and friends…to give thanks to God, to have fun, and to be grateful. This Christmas, she won’t get to share chapatis with her mother or laugh with her siblings. But after all she’s been through, Davida approaches the season with peace.
With the help of World Relief, Davida recently found a job. She’s very close with her new roommate and spends time with her American cultural companion, Penny, who helps Davida navigate her new life. Every day brings a new challenge and a different storm to weather, but she is hopeful.
My life is peaceful right now. Knowing God has given me a chance at life is the best thing ever. After the storm, there is still a brighter day on the way.
So much of our Christmas tradition revolves around hope. We celebrate a glimmer of dawn at the end of a dark, stormy night. We believe in it, we long for it, and we enact it. And along the way we are encouraged by stories like Davida’s, in which the hope of Christmas–the hope of Christ–has become reality.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
Refugees arriving to the Puget Sound region come from a huge variety of backgrounds, and each brings unique expectations for new life in America. The only thing they all have in common is the hope for a life of safety and peace. This Christmas, you are invited to join them in their hope. A gift through World Relief Seattle goes directly to newcomers in the greater Seattle area in form of ESL classes, employment services, casework services, and cash assistance among other things. Small victories like learning to read and write in English, getting a job, or even making that first friend can bring a glimmer of hope amid a storm of challenges.
Will you make a gift this Christmas season to bless and welcome newcomers like Davida?