As I drive through the Vickery Meadow apartments every week, I get to experience the most delightful feast of the senses. I see men and women passing by in their traditional garbs of colors and patterns. I smell mouth-watering spices and flavors as mothers and daughters prepare dinner for their families. I hear a constant chatter of men, women, and children speaking languages completely foreign to me. I am greeted with the sweetest hugs of exuberant children ready for a night of learning. It is then that I think how fortunate I am to get to experience this beautiful and dynamic community every Wednesday evening.Read More
Monday morning of this week at 5:30 am, more than 17+ families were displaced due to an outbreak of a fire at the Ivy apartments at Holly Hill Rd. Suddenly the apartments were engulfed in flames. These families who have already gone through so much trauma and loss, have been resettled, transitioned and started life over again - were swept into another trauma. These folks are our friends and neighbors. Our community. We have sat and listened to the stories of the families of their sheer fear of grabbing their babies and running out of their apartments with the clothes on their backs and no shoes and waiting in the 20 degree weather and other families joining them in the cold waiting in safety as the fireman woke them up to protect their homes by knocking on the doors or bursting in if necessary. We have grieved with the families in their pain, felt their loss of security and how this fire triggers their sense of instability It is devastating. Loss is never easy.Read More
Hi! I’m David. I joined Reading Circle in the summer of 2017 just after moving to Dallas. While I had a little knowledge of the Vickery Meadow refugee community, I had a strong desire to serve an international community. Ultimately, the Lord, through a friend, introduced me to Refugee Resources and has since grown in me the desire to serve and love the displaced and marginalized in our local community. It is truly amazing to see the perseverance, generosity, and joy of the refugee committee in Vickery Meadow and knowing some of them is one the of the great joys in my life.Read More
I joined Refugee Resources when the refugee crisis began to weigh heavily on my heart. In Leviticus 19:34, God commands His people to “treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and… love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Scripture is full of calls to not only welcome, but actively love the displaced and marginalized – to seek them out as God has sought after us. I knew God cared deeply about the plight of the refugee, but had no idea how much mercy was packed into these invitations to serve – until I met Bibi.Read More
January is a time for new beginnings, fresh starts, a time for us to reflect on things of the past and set our eyes on what’s to come. To many of us a new year means starting the latest diet, eating healthier, reading a new book, saving more and spending less. For many refugees; however, they’ve spent years waiting for a chance at a new beginning.Read More
If I know I’m going to be traveling to a new place, I like to plan ahead and go prepared. What will the weather be like? Will I fly or drive? How many days will I be gone, and where will I stay?Read More
How many of you have had to wait in line this past week? Did you get anxious or impatient? Were you angry or irritated by the people or the process? Did your desire for instant gratification overwhelm your feelings of gratitude and intentions to be loving and giving?Read More
Spoiler alert: Reading Circle is awesome.
When I first began volunteering two hours of my week to teach refugee students English literacy skills, I was excited about the opportunity to make a positive impact in the kid’s lives. I was going to be the superhero mentor who would see his student climb the literacy ladder every week and go home with a sense of accomplishment knowing that, at least for those two hours, I was making a difference.Read More
Every Wednesday, my five kids and I eat breakfast, finish a quick homeschool lesson and load up the car with crayons and playdoh and stickers and sensory box supplies and head a few miles down the road to Vickery Meadow. We say hello to the eager faces already playing at Refugee Resources and prepare the tables with activities and art supplies as we wait for the rest of our preschoolers to arrive.Read More
Meet Aimerance. She is a sweet and spunky eight year old little girl. Aimerance is from Congo and has ---- siblings. I began working with Aimerance this spring and right away I was surprised by her ability to move up the different reading levels. She is a fast learner!Read More
I grew up in a Christian bubble. I’ve always pushed that idea away in my brain because I just don’t want to admit it, but it’s true. Now, don’t hear me wrong- I am not complaining. Being in that bubble taught me the name of the Lord and the love He has for me since before I can remember. I was surrounded by people who truly and deeply desired for me to know God personally, and who prayed for me by name. Growing up it seemed to me that everyone I knew went to church, knew about the Lord, and lived a fairly similar life as I did. I took in what I heard at church, truly believed it, but thought “Okay, what do I do with this now? Everyone around me is hearing the same thing.” Hence the bubble: I never felt the need to learn to share what I believed and why I believed it because I was surrounded by others who looked and thought like me.Read More
Over the past few months, I’ve been learning a lot about hospitality. I mostly hear about people having the “gift of hospitality” because they love to host people or are particularly good at welcoming in new people to their circle of friends. While both of these descriptors of hospitality are fruitful and will ultimately glorify God, the Bible talks explicitly about hospitality in light of the foreigner or stranger in our life. Deuteronomy 10:18-19 talks about God’s heart for the foreigner and His command to the Israelites. It says, “He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”Read More
My name is Mark and I have worked with Bali for about a year and a half. Bali is one of the coolest kids I’ve ever met. He’s ten years old and thin as a rail. He is full of energy and joy that is infectious. He carries a soccer ball with him everywhere he goes. He’s a good kid. And his life is the stuff of boyhood dreams: biking down to the creek with his brother, playing soccer in the street with his closest mates, skinning knees, smiling and laughing nearly all the time, and of course playing marbles (something I still find a bit puzzling). He lives in a tiny apartment with four adults and three other kids. I imagine the money is tight, but you’d never know it.Read More
On the first night of reading circle, about a year and a half ago, I was introduced to this timid girl from Burma. Juliana warmed up throughout the night, telling story after story about her life between each reading activity. Over time, she has not changed; she remains an excellent storyteller. Each week, every Tuesday night, I look forward to hearing tales from the past week whether it is a story about school, her family, or something funny that happened to her and her friends.
Rewind the clock back almost three years, and my life looked a lot different. I had just heard about the Reading Circle, a program that served the refugee students in Vickery Meadows through a literacy mentorship program. I was excited to use my education background and share the love of Christ with my refugee neighbors. What I didn’t realize at the time, was the cost of my comfort, time, and energy. Yet I also didn’t realize how much my life would be radically transformed for the best by the relationships I’ve formed.Read More
Rain is one of the happiest, friendliest kids you will ever meet. Every Monday I get the opportunity to spend time with him and it is one of the highlights of my week. Without fail when I arrive at Reading Circle, Rain will rush towards me and want to play games, show me his art, or see how far I can lift him. It is such a joy to be Rain's mentor. You would never tell by these interactions that Rain is actually a refugee from Myanmar - formerly Burma, that has come to the US with the hope of a better life for him and his family.Read More
Watching the news a few years ago, I was ashamed when I watched a local story about some angry people planning to head to DFW Airport to protest against a few refugee families being brought by the federal government to settle here as part of a larger resettlement program. Many who had already traveled through multiple unwelcoming countries in their search for a peaceful refuge from their war-torn countries had settled in cities to our north. I was stunned. I thought the story was going to focus on welcoming them after all they’d been through. My heart broke when I imagined that instead of open arms and kind faces, they would experience more of what they were already escaping.Read More
For the past two and a half years, I’ve had the gift of serving as a mentor in the Reading Circle program through Refugee Resources Inc. The organization is set in Vickery Meadow, a beautifully diverse refugee community in Dallas. While it’s only a few minutes away from my apartment, it feels like another part of the world. The neighborhood is made of people from many different ethnicities, cultures and backgrounds, and it has a sense of community that is rare to find.Read More
My favorite characteristic about Tika is that he is a kid. Not only in age, but in excitement and character.
Tika and his family are from Bhutan and came to the United States for a better life through a refugee resettlement organization. Tika was naturally guarded when first meeting him. Any question I asked was quickly responded with an “I don’t know” in a way to shrug off an interaction. The spark of being a 5th-grade boy was missing. He was compliant and quiet, most likely attending because of his parent’s hope for his literacy to improve.Read More
I will always remember the evening I was introduced to my quiet and wide-eyed mentee. He was a small little boy who seemed to be shy, although after moving from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the United States, a young child like himself had every reason to be watchful as he learned the ropes in this new place. Maybe it was because he hadn’t ever interacted closely with a white adult female, maybe he had a traumatic past haunting him, or maybe it was just because he only knew a few words in English. Coincidentally, I had just moved to the new, shiny, fast-paced Dallas, TX (although my move was not as much of a culture shock as his) and I was grateful for my new little friend.Read More