Friday, February 11, 2011


The Lord dropped another young woman into my life a few weeks ago. She is from the Karen tribal group connected to the Burmese, historically speaking -- even though she doesn't consider that accurate. Elvina Soe is 35 years old and was in a refugee camp in Thailand from the age of 12 until 5 months ago when she arrived in Omaha. I met her at the ESL class where I am an associate teacher/helper. We ended up grinning at each other a number of times and then it went forward.

Today was her first time to come to my house. I have been to her apartment once. And we went shopping together one afternoon and she just held my hand and was excited to be out and about with me, even though it was a rainy, snowy, icy day. The main issue is that she really doesn't speak English very well, yet, which makes conversation challenging, althou
gh she's very intense about learning as quickly as possible.

Today when she came and I began to fix our lunch, chopping a variety of vegetables -- cabbage, carrots, zucchini to stir fry them as an ea
sy meal -- she immediately jumped in to chop the cabbage, wash dishes, and do any kitchen-related task that needed to be accomplished. During the chores, she practiced pronouncing the various kitchen-related terms. Sometimes we just stood there and laughed, because of the way we would say and repeat and say and repeat one word over and over and over again.

As we were walking through the living room, she practiced as many words as possible ... plant, flower, green, purple [a hard one to pronounce for her], glass, drum, rocks, and on and on. Afte
r lunch, when we sat down on the sofa she told me to ask her questions so she could practice understanding them and answering.


Her history: her parents sent her away when she was 12 to be with an aunt and uncle at a refugee camp in Thailand. The warfare was going on around her family and they wanted her to be in a safer place. She has never heard what happened to her parents. Before she was sent away, military forces invaded the village where her grandmother lived, and killed her. Elvina said they killed children or older people and nothing would stop them from doing it. She knows that that's why she was sent away. While she was describing the murder of her grandmother, she "held" a rifle in her arms and mimicked shooting, swinging her arms around from side to side. Her face, even though usually filled with smiles and full of joy, had a sudden hard and angry moment. Then the smiles came back.

We talked about a few other in
cidents in life. Not all serious -- but mostly interesting, to say the least. Her wedding, her Christian heart, the Christian history of her family. -- She so desires to have children, but she has had a few miscarriages and is very sad that she's not a Mom.

I know that most of this is probably too detailed and maybe plain old boring ... but I wanted to share it, because it so flooded my heart. To me, it's another door opening to somehow bless and help someone who has suffered through much of her life -- and yet can radiate love and warmth and love.


S. Etole said...

We don't always realize, do we, just how fortunate we are in this country.

caryjo said...

Thanks. You said what I almost included in this, but decided I'd try to not sound as if I was nailing people again for our easier lives ... even though we have suffered in one way or another, too.

SamAdhe said...

Mom, I am always amazed at how you freely allow God to you use you to touch many lives. May He continue to bless you, Sam.

Seeker of Yahweh said...

What a blessing for you both. :)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photo of a new "mom and daughter"! You are right where God planted you in the midst of these precious refugees.

caryjo said...

Sam, when I was talking to her and she mentioned her g-mother's murder, I thought of Adhe's g-ma's murder while "wearing" Adhe on her back when Adhe was a small child. And Adhe's desire for children without being able to have what she wanted, though miraculously having Stella. So much in common.

Thank you for your encouragement. You're my first main dear one the Lord dropped in who has been a treasure of a son. Always missed.

Unknown said...

Deeply moving. Thank you for sharing how the Lord is using you, Joanne. He is so very "present" in all you do. You are always an inspiration to me! You have the love of Jesus just pouring out of you! "Showers of blessing...but for the showers we plead."

SimplyDarlene said...

I don't visit often enough... each time I do, my heart breaks. But then it fills again with His love seeping through your words and deeds.


Beth said...

You are such a blessing to many, jo--just reading about it blesses me.:)
In my jr. advanced Eng.class, we're getting ready to study the forms of slavery that still exist in the world today. My country kids have had their eyes opened about slavery in the south and most of them have no clue about what still goes on in the world today. Just the discussion was interesting.