Jeanine Campbell Story

On my first day at Reading Circle, and every day since, arriving in Vickery Meadow has been like a breath of fresh air. I am transported out of America as I’ve known it and welcomed with smiles, hugs, and open doors into a stunning variety of cultures and stories. When I first found Reading Circle a year and a half ago, I was simply searching for any way to start meeting people in the refugee community in Dallas. I was new to the city and didn’t know much about it yet, but I had learned that it had become a new home for many of the most resilient people on Earth. I am grateful to say now that a highlight of every week I’ve spent in Dallas has been each Tuesday night at Reading Circle.


The impact the children at Reading Circle have made on my life was immediate and will always stay with me. Loving and being loved by them has revealed more to me why Jesus said we should be like children. They rush toward each new mentor with undisguised interest in knowing them and being known. They share stories and streams of questions that show their natural willingness to trust and learn. All their eagerness to connect and grow has been so inspiring, and I hope to spend more of my life following their example.


While every child at Reading Circle brings me unrelenting joy each week, I have had the privilege of spending the most time getting to know a girl named Shay Moe. Shay Moe is soft-spoken and mellow, but she is not timid. Before she even speaks, she shines with strength and confidence that stand out. As I have had time with her week after week, it has been an honor to see more of her vibrant inner spirit. She’s incredibly clever and aware of the people and world around her. Her creativity lights up her thoughts, stories, imagination, and humor. The care and attention she gives to others has built up strong bonds of friendship. It brings so much extra hope into my world to see her and her friends laugh, play, and dream freely together every week.


As Shay Moe has honored me with her trust, I continue to see more of her drive to learn and love. She rises to challenges and pushes herself every week, always reading faster, understanding more, and growing her vocabulary. She whispers prayer requests that reveal how much people mean to her and how much thought she puts into coming up with ways to help them and give them even more of her care. I have seen her begin as an observer in conversations about God and move to understanding and talking about God’s character in new ways. I am convinced she has more to teach me than I can offer her. 


I hope the miracle of getting to know these children who have come to Dallas from across the world is not lost on anyone who meets them. I have been constantly reminded of God’s undeniable hand in the relationships formed at Reading Circle. Considering the odds that any family would find safety from threats they were forced to flee, receive access to America, end up in Dallas, and cross paths with Refugee Resources, it really seems like the specific children at Reading Circle are there by divine purpose. And I will always be grateful for an invitation into this divine plan for children God loves so deeply.


Alysa Marx