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Volunteer Feature: Janine

“We are all called to live out our faith. Why help the next person? Because that is what God called us to do in the Bible.”- Janine

Janine attends Garland Church and first got involved with World Relief through a Good Neighbor Team – a small group that surrounds and supports a family in the resettlement journey for six to twelve months. Garland owns a transitional home and were housing an Afghan family with ten children. (The family actually has 12 children, but the two married daughters remained behind in Afghanistan.) Janine was working with the family on their English language skills when the pastor of the church came in with a large stack of medical papers that needed to be addressed.

“We finished the English class, and I got up and walked over and said, ‘Can I see those?’ And I go, ‘You know what? The way that I can walk along side this family is by utilizing my experience as a nurse.’”

“Ministry takes place when divine resources meet human needs through loving channels to the glory of God.”― Warren W. Wiersbe, On Being a Servant of God

Janine recognized that the family’s greatest need coincided with her experience as a nurse. She has been in the medical field since the 1970s and a registered nurse since 1989. The father of the family had a number of medical needs as a result of being hit by an IED in Afghanistan, and with 10 children, you can just imagine how the medical appointments added up.

Initially, it was a full-time job. “As a nurse, you cannot see that need and not help them. What I am doing is community health nursing, and if I could do it overseas, why can I not do it in America where there are people who desperately need the help?”

Janine’s husband is a construction engineer, and together they have lived all over the world. Coming to Spokane was her 25th move, and she is hoping, her last. She has worked as a nurse everywhere they have gone —  Los Angeles, San Francisco, West Virginia, Maine, North Carolina, Bulgaria, Jamaica, South Carolina, Canada, and New York.

Above: Janine is checking Micah’s pulse.

“A nurse is a nurse around the world, that doesn’t change.” Janine recognizes that medical language and the processes surrounding medical care are complicated – even when you understand the language. Add in a language barrier, and it becomes overwhelming.

“I know what it is like for them, I have been in their shoes.”

She remembers living in Bulgaria. “The director at my kids’ school showed us all around, and he took time out of his day, and he said to me ‘Janine, you need to learn to step out on your own.’” Janine had to learn the language enough to ride the bus, get a taxi, go grocery shopping, etc.

“These people are here and they need the help… Some people will say, ‘Oh, well, they are just getting free handouts,’ but you know what? This family, I’ve watched them, and they want to make it on their own. They just need that little extra help to get started.”

Like Janine, you can help a recent refugee or asylee family or individual adjust to American life by walking alongside them with a group of volunteers (a small group of your friends and/or fellow church members). With World Relief’s support, you’ll be their guide from the very beginning, from meeting them at at the airport, to helping enroll them in social services, to building a relationship. Start the volunteer process here!

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