Amanda Giles Story

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. Families here in the Vickery Meadow neighborhood have gotten a fresh start when they set foot on American soil. A new life without a fear of persecution and a time to start over and to begin a life with their family here in the states. A new life with many challenges ahead-a new language, a new home, a new job, a new culture, a new community. Despite all of these challenges every refugee family I have met has been overjoyed with the opportunity for a new beginning. But beginnings can be scary. Picking up and leaving everything you’ve ever known for a new life full of the unknown--definitely scary.


There are new beginnings sprinkled all throughout Scripture and the most beautiful part is that God is the provider of each of these new beginnings. He is so gracious to be there through every trial and tribulation to provide new mercies morning after morning. After the great flood God started civilization again with Noah and his family. The Samaritan woman was given the opportunity to start a new life with Jesus after living a life of shame. David was given the chance to redeem himself as king after his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba. Rahab married into the tribe of Judah after her life as a prostitute. Ruth married the wealthy Boaz after a life as a Moabite and the death of her first husband. God is all about new beginnings.


As I reflect on 2018 I am so grateful for how the Lord has broken my heart for the marginalized-specifically refugees. Reading Circle has allowed me to spend more time with this community group and receive abundantly more than I give. Each week I have the chance not only to work with Alliance on her reading skills but share bits and pieces of the gospel in hope that she will have a lifelong relationship with Jesus. Alliance is a sassy 12 year old girl who keeps me on my toes. She is full of life, opinions, and laughter. I have been so privileged to work with her. Reading Circle provides students the chance to develop and refine their reading skills. So many opportunities that these children will be presented with throughout their life will be easier because of their ability to read. Week in and week out I see a room full of people doing so much more than teaching letter sounds, vocabulary and comprehension. I see them shining a light on Jesus to a group of adoring students. Planting seeds with these precious children about the redemptive love of a Great Father can create the greatest new beginning of all. A new life with Jesus Christ our Savior.


“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

-2 Corinthians 5:17


Alysa Marx