Intro to Watsonopolis

There was one who once said crazy things like, give your possessions to the poor, let your light shine, go to the ends of the earth, love God, love your neighbor, serve, pray, die and live. Those words, the words of Jesus, have gripped and shaped our lives.

Because of Jesus’ life, challenge and love we are propelled into an amazing life journey; a journey that most often finds us pitching our tent among the poor and those on the margins of our world, serving, living, teaching, learning and loving there.

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Tuesday
Aug052008

Refugees, the Poor & Kelly

It's really humbling you know when you see that something you said, or prayed, or hoped for is sprouting flesh and bones and becoming real.  Lisa and I have been experiencing that in small, yet exciting ways.  

Kelly and her husband Chad are a couple that have become a fast friends of the Watson's upon our relocation to Memphis and joining Living Hope.  Kelly and Lisa have been spending a good deal of time together, hanging out, shopping, talking, studying the Bible, drinking margaritas...or whatever it is that 30-something married women do.

Lisa's been telling stories about us living in Fresno, serving with folks in Nigeria learning our way around Memphis.  And Kelly has been introducing Lisa to other young women.  Young professional women Memphians.  Its been fun.

Recently, Kelly begun volunteering with a group that assists in the resettlement of refugees in Memphis.  And this experience has greatly impacted Kelly.  So much so that in just a month, she's continued to volunteer, mobilize groups of others to do the same, raised money and even had a spot on our local news station about the situation of refugee families in Memphis.  

The first spark was Kelly serving among refugees in Memphis (not far from where Lisa and I live).  The second spark was an email which she read during one of the services at Living Hope.  This story is still unfolding.  And continues to amaze us.  Kelly has given me permission to share her email which is below.  The 'friend' she mentions is, of course, Ms. Lisa Watson.

Subject: Dirty little feet 
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2008 11:50:38 +0000 

For those of you who know how much I love my sleep and being that I don't have any children and I can still sleep, I woke up at 4:30 not able to go back to sleep.  The dirty little feet and piercing little eyes that I saw yesterday are sitting right on the top of my heart.  Yesterday, I had the OPPORTUNITY to meet a friend off of Poplar to tutor some children.  My intentions to "go and help someone in need" were at best terrible!  When I got there of course they needed help with the babies.  In my mind my eyes were rolling...me go and help the babies -- me the one who is struggling to have a baby go and help with the babies?  Not to mention where they keep the babies; in a 500 square foot room, at best, in which the air conditioning does not function properly, so it was 78 degrees in there, at best, and there were close to 20 of these little babies in that hot and small room.  But they didn't seem to care...most of them in winter-looking clothes, shoes that were too big, too small, too old, fingernails and toenails caked with dirt, some of them with no undies on at all, none of them able to understand the English that I spoke, begging for me to hold them and hug them, to throw the ball again or tickle them, and all of them crying out for another cup of Cheez-Its.  I was not in Africa, Somalia, or Afganistan yesterday...I was witnessing these things, these different cultures right off of Poplar.  Off of Poplar where I buy my name brand purses and shoes, off of Poplar where my large, air-conditioned, house with an alarm system sits, off of Poplar where I buy all the groceries that I need,  off of Poplar where I spend most of MY time, off of Poplar where I get my pedicures, off of Poplar where my church meets and I sign my checks to help someone in need. 
 
A friend told me a few weeks ago that I needed the poor.  HA!  Me need the poor?  I have an education, I work hard, I vote, I pay my taxes, I tithe, I help missionaries, I give to organizations, I pray for them, I sign up to clean their neighborhoods once a year....I don't need the poor; they need me!  Well my friend, you were right.  I do need the poor.  I need them for perspective, to remind me to find the joy in the midst of hardship, to not always be wanting for the next thing but to be thankful for all that I have, to remind me to think of others instead of always thinking of myself, to remind me that just because someone is different doesn't mean they are bad or undeserving of love, to remind me that just because I have an education doesn't mean that I am smart, to remind me that a little bit of dirt doesn't make someone dirty,  to remind me that hoarding MY time is a waste of time, to remind me that my money isn't really my money anyway and that my money can't buy my happiness and my contentment.  So from this girl who lives off of Poplar to my friends, who live off of Poplar too....I pray that you will take the time to find out for yourselves if you need the poor!
 
p.s. To my skeptical friends (been there) who think that all poor people in Memphis sit on their butts all day, living on welfare, sucking from our hard earned tax dollars, jumping at the chance to have some folks from the suburbs take their kids off of their hands for a bit:  while I was keeping these babies, their mamas (most of them single parents and all of them refugees) were working on their English, learning trade skills to get a job, asking for help to get their GED's!  But does that extra information really matter?  Could love..real love.. not change all of us, no matter our situation?

Reader Comments (1)

>>I need them for perspective, to remind me to find the joy in the midst of hardship, to not always be wanting for the next thing but to be thankful for all that I have, to remind me to think of others instead of always thinking of myself, to remind me that just because someone is different doesn't mean they are bad or undeserving of love, to remind me that just because I have an education doesn't mean that I am smart, to remind me that a little bit of dirt doesn't make someone dirty, to remind me that hoarding MY time is a waste of time, to remind me that my money isn't really my money anyway and that my money can't buy my happiness and my contentment.<<

A reminder I need as I head back to my inner city school for the 20th year and wonder why I'm doing this. These are fabulous words, ones I would love to share with others.

August 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDelaine Zody

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