Jared Shaffer Story

This is Samuel. He is in 4th grade, likes to draw, has taught me more about anime than I could ever imagine, and loves Chipotle. I have been lucky to mentor Samuel for the last 7 months and his quick wit and ability to learn have made our time together a treasure. Tuesday nights with him feel like any other Tuesday night with a friend.


When I began volunteering at Reading Circle a year and a half ago, I was expecting to be taking care of a bunch of rowdy kids and playing babysitter. While the kids can get pretty rowdy, my expectations were way off. Reading Circle is a community of individuals who come from different kinds of backgrounds, meeting together to learn and grow. As I enter the Refugee Resources building every Tuesday, I'm greeted by boys and girls from all over the world. These children come back to Reading Circle every week because of the relationships they have built with adults who they normally wouldn’t interact with. It is not the works of the mentors that make the relationships special, rather the love for God that is working through us.


This Easter weekend we will be celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus, it is a story of redemption. Romans 3 reminds us that even though we all are guilty of sin, we are justified by God's grace as a gift through the redemption of Jesus Christ who shed his blood for us. We were purchased at a great cost, but it was a cost we did not have to pay. The great news is that this gift is for everybody, including our refugee brothers and sisters. Many of the families in Vickery Meadows have lived here for years yet are total strangers to anyone beyond their apartment complex. God has brought these families into our backyard and what an opportunity it has been to love them and share the good news of the Gospel with each and every one of them.


Because of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, we have hope of eternal life. At Reading Circle, we have the opportunity to share this good news every week with some of the most vulnerable people in our community. Mentoring these kids hardly feels like volunteering. We spend the first 30 minutes of every Tuesday by reading a Bible lesson together and learn about one of God's many attributes. Some of these kids know and Love Jesus, but many are just beginning to learn who he is and what he has done.


I cannot imagine a better way to spend my Tuesday nights than hanging out with Samuel and teaching him to read and use his skills to learn more about God. Empowering children through literacy and building friendships as they transition into a new life in Dallas has been an unforgettable experience. This Easter, I ask you to pray for the refugees in Dallas and ask God to continue to work through His people to show them the hope and love that is found in Jesus Christ.


Alysa Marx