Crossing The Road - Week 3
A Good Neighbor doesn’t stay on his side of the street or even 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
Every visit with Omid has been a learning experience for me.
Chicago! It was never my kind of town. As I’ve said before I am a bit of an introvert. So being in a place with lots of people moving really fast never really appealed to me. It’s only redeeming factors is it’s plethora of the Arts and it’s diverse population. I don’t drive in Chicago. Period! So when I discovered the refugees Exodus worked with were mainly based in Chicago I was apprehensive. Every time I would go to the city, in the past, I would get lost. I was never very good with knowing my way around, I would get anxious and overwhelmed. Everything within me didn’t want to go that first week or second or third, but I believe God honors our efforts and truly equips those He calls. And He usually doesn’t call us to something that we are familiar with. After all how would we mature as Christians if we never step out of our comfort zones.
Lucky for me my daughter who lives in Chicago walked me through public transportation and how to pay for and use its different types. In the short amount of time I have been coming to Chicago, on a weekly basis, to meet with Omid, I have become pretty competent in using public transportation. I rarely get lost and the city starts to make sense.
Like me Omid had a rough start with public transportation. He would get on the wrong bus or get off at the wrong stop. Now imagine coming here from a country that doesn’t have such diverse modes of transportation. In fact no public transportation. You don’t speak the language very well and you don’t have someone you can trust to give you the rundown on how to navigate the ins and outs of getting around in the big city.
It always amazes me how things we take for granted in our everyday life are completely unknown to people in other countries. On my last visit Omid asked me to mail a letter for him. He is trying to get his asylum process started. Its important for him, because he can’t start the process of having his family join him here until he does. He only has a year to get the process going. He found a law student that was willing to help him navigate it, pro-bono. One of the things he had to do was mail two passport size photos to her. Unfortunately, he didn’t know how to use the postal system. Where he is from, addresses are basically geographic descriptions. For example, "The narrow house on the top of the hill at the end of the road." He asked me to show him how to address a letter the next time I came. So I walked him through the whole postal system. I brought a letter and envelopes and stamps. We addressed a letter, stamped it, then walked it down to the mailbox on the corner. It was a bit of a re-education for me as well, since I haven’t sent a letter snail mail in 4 or 5 years probably.
That’s all for now. Next week I’m going to share some more about the culture that Omid comes from. Also, relay our first religious conversation.
Until then, be a blessing and be blessed.