Crossing the road in my car - teaching how to drive
A Good Neighbor doesn’t stay on his side of the street or even in his own city, sometimes.
36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.
37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”
Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”-Luke 10:33-37
It has now been about ten months since my first meeting with Omid. We have overcome many barriers since than. I have learned a lot about what it means to be a refugee and a Muslim. I have discovered that’s it not the government handout as some would lead you to believe. There is tremendous pressure on the individual seeking asylum in the U.S.. Government entities are constantly monitoring their progress or lack of. They have to find a job that not only provides for their stay in the U.S., but (since they are usually the sole provider) one that will also provide enough to send back to their families to survive. They have to worry about the safety of their family. He has moved his family to Pakistan where they will be “safer”, while he waits for his asylum to go through. Which is on its 5th month of review status. Which could take upto 6 months to be approved. At which time he will be able to bring some of them here to live with him. He has found gainful employment with good benefits. Also, he is still tending college classes. Most importantly, however, he is now able to save some money for a new car. He wants to be an Uber driver.
That brings us to our next chapter. Omid got his driving permit and asked if I could take him driving before he goes and gets his license. I agreed to help him navigate the rules of the road in my car if he came down to the suburbs. He agreed. I wrongly assumed that he already knew how to drive. I mean the guy flys airplanes. So you can imagine the wild ride we had for the first 30 seconds. Till I realized that he has never been behind the wheel of a car. That’s when I decided we needed to start a little slower. Like in a parking lot on a Sunday afternoon. So this is what I have been doing on some Sundays after church.
This last Sunday we drove for a little over an hour and missed his train back home. We had two hours to kill until the next train and decided to go back to my house. He wanted to make a late lunch for us and asked if he could use the kitchen. He made us a nice Mediterranean lunch. This gave us more of an opportunity to talk and for my wife to finally meet him.
It may take a while for him to get in enough hours behind the wheel. My schedule is hard to arrange for Sundays lately, but I think we might be able to get him to the DMV sometime this year. Please pray for his progress and our safety.
If I’m being completely honest. When I started with Exodus a little over a year ago I never imagined that I would one day be giving driving lessons to an Afghan refugee and having lunch at my house, afterwards. I originally started in the New Neighbor program with Exodus not knowing what to expect, but since starting this journey we have become friends. We have gone far beyond the original meeting once a week for 13 weeks. And it has been very rewarding.
Until next time…