She finally had a safe place to sleep
I met Ashley in January and we became instant friends. She was full of life, just one of those people you connect with right away. I soon learned she makes for an amazing shopping buddy and doesn’t help with my shoe obsession. However, there is more to her than that. The more I hung out with her, I soon realized how much she loves the Lord and she was living to serve Him.
She became a Christian at the age of 19 and moved to Illinois from Ohio to work with refugees. Ashley’s heart was drawn to refugee children. Two years after coming here, she would start working with children in an after school program at a community center. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you” (Jeremiah 1:5). We don’t always fully understand the places we are called to or why God places us where He does. God has a purpose for us for the season of life we are in whether we see it or not.
In August of 2016 Ashley would meet a 16-year-old refugee girl from Nepal; she came here 10 years ago with her mom, sister, and her brother in law. Soon after resettling in Illinois, her mom left. For 6 years, they stayed with a relative in Chicago and moved to DuPage County with her sister and brother-in-law at the end of last summer. It was through divine intervention that these two would cross paths.
She didn’t want to leave Nepal, she was forced to like most refugees. But living with her sister came with a price as she was abused by her brother-in-law. Everyone was a stranger to this teenager, where could she turn to?
She would be homeless for 2 months. With a backpack on her shoulders, she knocked on Ashley’s door one day. It was a God moment and Ashley’s heart was filled with a scripture from Matthew, “for I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me.” That night, a Nepali refugee girl finally had a safe place to sleep.
I don’t know if she grew up Christian or if she knew about Jesus. It was Mother’s Day, her mother had left her 6 years ago, but she heard the good news that Sunday morning as Pastor Wil spoke of God’s love. She turned to Ashley and said, this is where I want to go to church.
The night I met Ashley, I don’t think she had the slightest idea that in a few weeks she would suddenly become a legal guardian to a teenager at the age of 25. This will probably sound crazy to most people that read this, but I am so proud of my dear friend and I can’t imagine a more suited mother figure for such a precious girl. These stories seem miles away from here, but there are children in need of us to show godly love to right here in our neighborhoods.
Today, I ask for your help in praying for refugees.