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Learning From Waiting

When life situations bring us into uncertainty and the unknown, waiting is often a large part of it.

And that wait can be unbearable.

That’s because the “when” of waiting is never guaranteed. When will I get what I deeply desire or painstakingly worked for? And a more unsettling thought: “Will I ever get what I desperately need?

The act of waiting is no stranger to immigrants or refugees. In fact, it is often a defining season in many of their lives. But as the following three stories reveal, something transformational and lasting can happen to an individual during the experience of waiting.

For these three individuals, the struggles they faced in these challenging situations – and the waiting they endured – not only shaped them, but it also inspired them to make a difference in their new world.

Your skills, knowledge and gifts aren’t meant for you alone.

Imagine working hard to build a successful, professional career only to have it ripped from you. Imagine you must start all over. But this time it’s in a new country with a new language and a new system. And there’s no manual to tell you where to begin.

The weight of the work – and the waiting along with it – can feel insurmountable.

When violence forced Ali and his family to leave Iraq and come to the U.S., he hoped to transfer his license and continue his career as a pharmacist. He soon found this wasn’t going to be easy.

In fact, it became a long, arduous journey. Days, weeks and months were filled with full-time work to support his family, navigating a system he didn’t understand, and tiring hours of study. It took a toll, but he persisted.

Over 3 years later, his season of hard work and waiting finally paid off. And with Ali’s accomplishment came a deep desire to help others like him.

He realized he could serve others with the knowledge, skills and insight he learned along the way. He could help other newly arriving immigrants and refugees move through the uncertainty of rebuilding their own lives.

Learn more about Ali’s story.

The struggles in your life can serve as a guide for others.

Imagine you’re forced to leave your home to spend the next 19 years of your life in the unknown. Imagine spending nearly two decades in a refugee camp and living in uncertainty and with a lack of security.

Sometimes what we’re waiting for isn’t a “thing” but rather a feeling or state of being – like peace, relief or home.

As a refugee living in an unsafe situation, Jerome lived much of his life hoping for peace and security. And as the passage of time grew longer, he struggled with the hopelessness he would never receive it.

But after his arrival in the U.S., Jerome received what he was waiting for – peace. He finally found home. And he was transformed by the peace and welcome of the individuals walking alongside him rather as he began to rebuild his life in America.

The long wait he endured and the welcome he received helped him know that he intimately understood the mindset of newly arriving immigrants and refugees. Because of his experience, Jerome knew he could give them exactly what they needed: guidance, security and hope.

Learn more about Jerome’s story.

You can still serve and lead from wherever you are.

Imagine if your government threatened your life if you ever returned back home to the country you love. Imagine not only losing connection and proximity to all you knew but now you’re thrown into a life of complete uncertainty.

You’re forced to navigate a new life in a new country and you’re completely unprepared.

During a trip to the U.S. as a Fulbright Scholar, Yomardy’s life and dreams were destroyed when her government declared her a traitor for sharing about the current conditions her people faced. She had big plans to help her people. But she knew she could never return as long as this government held power.

Yomardy still remains in a season of waiting to fulfill her dreams for her country. But her struggle to rebuild a new life in the U.S. inspired her to serve others also forced to flee their homes and start from nothing.

Yomardy realized it was time for a new dream. A dream that used her skills and strengths to give others the refuge they need when their lives are suddenly upended.

Learn more about Yomardy’s story.

It’s Your Turn to Find the Part You Play

Like these immigrants, you also have a unique set of skills and experiences that are needed to help provide welcome to newly arriving immigrants and refugees. No matter your age, passion or schedule, there’s a place for all of us at World Relief.

What does your part in providing welcome look like? Visit us at Volunteer Opportunities to find out more.

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