Mormon Channel Blog

A Simple Way to Serve Refugees

April 5, 2016

Friends talking together

Have you ever thought about reaching out to someone in need and decided to hold back instead? This story of simple courage and kindness might inspire you to take the next chance you have to help.

Michelle, a mother of five, was looking for ways to give back to the community. She found an opportunity to serve at a local elementary school for students from many different countries and cultures, including children who come to the United States as refugees.

It was there that Michelle worked with two little girls from Nepal, Alina and Esther. Michelle felt inspired to invite these girls and their mother, Milan, to make dinner with her family.

She wanted to provide an opportunity for both families to learn more about each other, so she planned to go shopping with Milan to learn what food her family traditionally made.

“I picked up things for what I was going to make and then we went to the Nepali store for what Milan was going to make,” Michelle said. “Every single one of us was around the counter making pot stickers together.”

Michelle learned that Milan fled from Bhutan to Nepal with her family when she was a child and spent 22 years in a refugee camp, where she met her husband and started a family. Her qualification to relocate to the United States was bittersweet.

“I got sad because I grew up [in Nepal] and half of my life I spent there,” Milan said. “I was very scared to come to America because, you know, our language, we don’t know English.”

Although Milan is not a member of the LDS Church, she converted to Christianity in Nepal. During their evening together, Michelle and Milan were able to discuss how their faith made them better moms and how Christ had personally affected their lives.

“One of the things I noticed that night was that it doesn’t matter what your language or culture is,” Michelle said. “It’s all about family. When I spoke with Milan, it was all about the sacrifices she’s making to help her children. She is such a good mother, and her children are fun and articulate and curious, just like my kids.”

By the end of the night, the two families felt like true friends. A simple invitation seemed to be the beginning of something more special.

“There really was something different about having them in our home,” Michelle said, “different than asking, ‘What do you need? Can we bring you some cookies?’ or just saying hello in the hall. It was a deeper connection.”

How could you reach out to the refugees this week? For 40 of our ideas, click here.

Was there a time you gave or received service that changed your perspective? We want to hear about it! Sharing your story could help somebody just like you.

Email us at mormonchannel@ldschurch.org. Use the subject line “MC Share.”