December 2012 Posts

Around the World…

Can you imagine fleeing from your country? Or arriving to a foreign land not speaking the language or knowing what to do with the dishwasher? It’s not easy, and I know that today because I’m an intern at Denver Rescue Mission’s Refugee Services Department. A big part of my job is coordinating the refugee mentoring program in partnership with Lutheran Family Services.

As an intern, I don’t just sit back behind my desk, but I help mentor refugee families. Currently I am mentoring an Iraqi refugee family with the help from others including Nepali teenagers who are also refugees. One of the highlights of this relationship between the mentors and the refugee family is that we are all from different cultures, but we come together to support each other. That’s especially meaningful to me.

My internship at the Mission allows me to travel the world without stepping onto a plane. I am able to sit in their apartments, experience their cultures and give them guidance as they try to start a new life here in Denver – heck, I think that’s better than visiting museums overseas!

When I decided to pursue a full-time internship at the Mission, I knew that I would be giving up a few things: a paying position, cooking my own food and living in a nice apartment. However, these are small sacrifices in comparison to what I am gaining – learning more about God through different cultures, and making friendships with refugees and other interns. I’ve even found joy in sharing a meal with people who speak another language. To say the least, I am getting pretty good at talking with my hands!

>>To learn more about internships at Denver Rescue Mission, visit www.denverrescuemission.org/internship.>>

-Post written by, Michael Josten. Michael has been a Refugee Services Intern with Denver Rescue Mission since August 2012. He is from Ventura, Iowa and graduated from Taylor University in May of this year.

 

Graduation at Denver Rescue Mission: A room filled with JOY

Written by: Rachel Greiman, Writer/Editor

I’ve been to probably 20 graduations in my life. Some were my own, most were my siblings. We all graduated from kindergarten, then grade school, then middle school and so on, up until college. The ceremonies quickly lost their appeal and we collectively dreaded going to them. The graduator stopped being celebrated at some point along the way. It was more of an expectation than anything else.

I didn’t walk or attend my college graduation. I graduated a semester after most of my peers and there was little sentimental value of walking that aisle in their absence. I don’t regret the decision but I do wish I had something to mark the occasion with. A photograph, a date circled in an old calendar, something to remind me that I did it. That I had accomplished what I set out to do.

Today, I got to watch many program participants at Denver Rescue Mission graduate. Some received GEDs and some had completed a program. The goal is that DRM has prepared each individual to return to the world as self-sufficient, confident citizens. I know some of these incredible people never envisioned themselves in that position. Maybe because they never saw themselves needing a place like the Mission. Maybe some thought they would never get to that point where they were ready to get back out there. But the fact is that they did it. They entered the program. They attended classes, weekly meetings, Bible studies, community meals, and many other required events. They set a goal for themselves and they achieved it.

photo taken by Rachel Greiman

Each name was read and applause followed. Every person that walked on the stage exchanged smiles, handshakes and hugs with one of the people that mentored them. The audience clapped, yelled, whistled, and wiped away tears. The absolute joy that filled the room was indescribable. Each person graduating was loved and cared for. It was a clear testimony of passion: the staff were seeing their investment pay itself back in full and the participants were seeing their years of hard work come to fruition. This was not simply an event on a calendar; lives have been changed and this was that celebration.

I’m glad I didn’t go to my college graduation. It would have paled in comparison and I got my diploma anyway. But Denver Rescue Mission graduations? I wouldn’t miss one for anything.