Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Little Austin Friends

While living in Austin, we were able to live in an apartment complex where many refugees are resettled. We LOVED living in these apartments and loved the people we lived with. Ryan and I both feel strongly that as followers of Jesus we are called to love refugees. This is one of the reasons why we feel in love with one another so quickly :)

Anyway, this is a picture of Ryan with our friends Lily Pa and Pai Lai. This picture was taken on the day we were moving out of our apartment. Lily Pa and Pai Lai are brother and sister. They are Burmese, but have never lived or even visited Burma. Their parents had to flee Burma and lived in a refugee camp in Thailand(where they were born.) After many years, they were able to come to the USA. Every year the USA decides how many refugees they will allow from each country and then they usually partner with non-profit or state agencies to resettle these refugees. In Austin there are a few of these resettlement organizations. The one we know the most about and worked with is Refugee Services of Texas. RST settled many refugees in our apartment complex. They were mostly from Burma, Burundi, Iraq, Nepal, and Somalia. If you ever have a chance to hang out with refugees they will inspire you. They all have such amazing stories of pain and loss mixed with perseverance and hope.

Pai Lai is one of our favorites. He spent more time at our apartment than any of the other kids. He loves Ryan and loves being around him. He always wanted to come over and watch Spider Man on our computer or color in our coloring books. He is a really smart little kid and one of the reasons leaving Austin was so hard.

I am so thankful we were able to spend our first year of marriage living with people like this!

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