The Lipscomb women’s tennis team is serving during spring break at World Relief Nashville. World Relief works with refugees who have been forced to flee their homes due to ethnic, religious or political persecution and have resettled in Nashville. In this installment the players talk about the experiences of day three.
Day three of our in-state mission trip involved one group introducing a refugee family from Southeast Asia to the MTA bus system in Nashville. Another group took upon helping international students at John Overton High School with school work, playing games and providing an ear to speak to.
At the school we realized how some of the students had been forced to grow up so quickly and take on responsibilities that young people should not have to do. The way that they embraced and welcomed us made it obvious of the warmth and love that filled their hearts.
Despite the situations they may have faced in the past they were willing to live in the moment and joined in with fun games making the day a wonderful experience for us and them. Once again it became clear that education was an extremely valued aspect of their lives. School work was a priority and they all had high aspirations for their future.
“A girl I tutored said education is the future,” Melissa Kromer said. “She likes school more than being home.”
The group which traveled on the bus with the Southeast Asia family had the opportunity to hear more about their family and assist them with discovering the downtown region of Nashville.
The language barrier was easily overcome with the assistance of a translator who had also come to the United States as a refugee. He is a pastor who has created a congregation of 400 people, mainly consisting of refugees. This Church service provides them with the opportunity to worship while also giving them access to job search assistance and living necessities such as a shelter.
It was incredible for us as a group to know that Rebecca, the 18-month-old daughter of the couple will have the opportunity to grow up in a free world with opportunities that were never available to her parents.
“All she will know is what she has experienced here,” Alex Newby said. “This will be the language she speaks. They have given her a hopeful future compared to where they could have been. “
Education was also a major focus for these people and it made us grateful and aware of the blessings that we are given.
“They are doing the exact same things in school that I had to do just a couple of years ago,” Kathryn Evans said. “I can’t imagine for them the difficulties of overcoming the language and cultural barriers on top of the already challenging work load.”