Nikki Pham Story

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.
Juliana is so smart! I have watched her surpass multiple reading levels in such a short amount of time. She does not back down from a challenge and I love being her personal cheerleader week after week! There was a lot of “I don’t know” early on in the reading circle, but she has learned to try her best. Now, she is such a hard worker and only needs a little bit of encouragement to continue using the reading strategies she has learned.
I’ve thing I love about Juliana is watching her love her friends so well. Girls that attend the same school, that are the same age and are in her same grade, and that are in the reading circle on the same night as her; she will walk over to Reading Circle with her friends before it begins, talking and laughing together until everyone arrives. She knows how to make her friends laugh and loves them selflessly. For instance, we are in the same walking group as one of her friends and she is always willing to be dropped off last because her friend likes to be dropped off first.
I love watching Juliana learn more about the characteristics of God and what that means for her personally as His daughter. She has sweet and sincere prayer requests for her friends when they are sick and for things, she is learning to trust God with the outcome. I love it when He answers her prayers and we can rejoice and celebrate together, praising Him for hearing her and blessing her in this manner. I hope and pray that she continues to feel loved by God in big and little ways. In addition, I also hope she is able to grasp a greater knowledge and understanding of her Savior as she reads and hears of His characteristics at Reading Circle.
I was drawn to serving at Reading Circle because my parents and family members also sought refuge here in America. Initially, I just thought this time would be set apart to love on this little girl and equip her to be successful in the future. Little did I know that the Lord was growing my heart for the refugee community that is within my neighborhood. In this next semester, I am looking forward to building more of a relationship with Juliana’s brothers and family as I have been given the opportunity to spend extra time with her outside of the reading circle to help her with her homework. I absolutely love this girl and feel so privileged to have watched her develop. I am eager to witness how the Lord will continue to move in her life and reveal more of Himself through our relationship and time together.


Alysa Marx