Clarkston: Harsh, Broken, and Love
This was my second trip with the Clarkston Refugee Ministry to the Indian Valley Apartment Complex. The first trip we were blessed to have two homes open their doors to us, through their children, and so this trip we went right back.
Starting out this morning, there was bitter cold in the air and harsh winds that pulled my car as we drove. It’s about an hour and a half to a two hour drive. All squished in though, fellowship was sweet. Not only were words of encouragement and prayers shared, but also new ideas for ministry. It’s always a good time to brainstorm and see the different strategies that come up through discussion.
We drove first to Brandon Hills Apartment Complex to drop off the other group. This apartment area is so worn down. Windows, roads, and the structure of the apartments themselves are broken and worn. Some whole apartments are burnt down. What’s heartbreaking to me is seeing windows boarded up and the conditions of the buildings and yet they charge $850.00 per family. It is so wrong and unjust how these landlords charge and treat these poor refugees. I don’t believe I would even pay $350.00 for a place so unsafe and in such peril.
My group headed out to Indian Valley (maybe a five minute drive from Brandon Hills) and we went to visit Shar Moe Ley. She is one of the Thai refugees and speaks English quite well. She took us to Fre Da’s home and for four hours we bounced from the two girls’ homes and visited with the families.
Fre Da’s parents had just come back from the store and had bought three chickens. They were plucking them and cleaning them out when we stepped in the door. The smell of blood and chicken flesh permeated the air. They had just killed the chickens in the home and were busy trying to cut them up once plucking was complete. After three hours we were offered dinner and they ended up cooking for the three of us. We had a wonderful Burmese meal of (fresh) Curry Chicken, pepper paste mixed with fish (anchovies and fish oil, perhaps?), and some white sticky rice. It was a blessing and an honor to eat from their table… Very delicious also!
I’ve come to love Clarkston and, if I had things my way, I would enjoy living there amongst the refugees. Sharing love and compassion… Proclaiming the peace of the gospel to them. Yet, God has me here and, while I may live in Toccoa, He still has given me the opportunity to enter into the lives of these people every other week through this ministry.
Just a short update on life here. God is so good!