Megan McGraw Story
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.
I remember my first day driving only five minutes down the road to Vickery Meadows. It’s a neighborhood in practically my backyard, and yet it felt like I might as well be halfway across the world. It was an unfamiliar place filled with the sight of children playing in the streets, women in saris carrying baskets of laundry, men gathered on their porches speaking in languages I didn’t recognize, and the strong aroma of all different kinds of spices. I felt the stares of these refugee families on me as the obvious outsider; a feeling they are all too familiar with on a daily basis.
Fast forward several years and the once strange and foreign neighborhood is now my second home. I am welcomed into their homes, exchanging smiles and familiar nods to the women passing by, and I’m greeted with hugs and stories from the most joyful and precious children. What I love about Reading Circle, is that it gives these kids a warm, safe environment where they can grow in their reading skills, build meaningful relationships with their mentors, and learn about God. All of the children bring me so much joy, but one, in particular, has captured my heart.
Meet Bu Meh.
She is tiny but mighty. If you ever have the pleasure of meeting Bu Meh, you’ll probably think she is several years younger than she is. But what she lacks in size, she makes up for in personality. Bu Meh’s joy and positivity light up any room she is in. She is boisterous, hilarious, and one the most thoughtful kids you will ever meet. If you were to sit with her during prayer time, she would ask you how she could pray for you. If you were giving her a shout out at the end of Reading Circle, she would want to give you one in return. If you asked her about her day, she would want to know about yours too. My favorite conversation with Bu Meh was about a year ago after we had the privilege of sending some of our students to Pine Cove, a Christian camp. Bu Meh had just shared how she dedicated her life to Christ, and the conversation went something like this:
Me: What did you learn about at Pine Cove?
Bu Meh: We learned all about Jesus and His love for us.
Me: Did you know that by believing in Jesus and accepting Him into your heart, that you are a daughter in the Kingdom of God? Because we are both daughters in Christ, we are forever sisters.
Her eyes lit up and she had question after question about this family she belongs to. Since then, we have had countless conversations about who God is and how He sees us as His children. My favorite is still when she looks up at me with her bright eyes in wonder and asks “sisters?” And I get to respond, “Yes Bu Meh, we will always be sisters in Christ….that will never change.”
Every week I get to disciple my sweet Bu Meh, but God is also teaching me through her. She reminds me of the joy I have in Christ, and his greatest commandment to love thy neighbor. By Jesus’ standard, the refugee whether from Syria, Nepal, Burma, whether living one mile or one thousand miles from us, whether Christian, Muslim, or Buddhist, or whatever else differentiates them-is our neighbor. The command of Jesus is to love them. The cost or risk is not relevant to this call to love.