Walking with the Unloved

Tags: From Canada, Story

From a SEND mission worker in the United States.

Soon after arriving in America to begin refugee ministry, I met Jamila*, a woman with a hard shell guarding her heart. However, as I began to develop a trusting and loving relationship with her, that hard rock front began to soften, and I could see that Jamila was gradually coming to life.  

A Painful Story

As I learned Jamila’s story, I understood why she was so guarded. A few years earlier, in her home country, Jamila was standing close to a cooking gas tank when it unexpectedly exploded. The blast left Jamila with only one finger and a thumb, and severe burns on her upper body and face. She endured several painful operations that were not as successful as she and her husband, Aman, had hoped. 

Jamila required further medical attention, so it was decided that she should receive this attention in America. Jamila left her loving husband and son to live with her sister and brother-in-law in the States. Sadly, her sister and brother-in-law were less than kind. When they took Jamila shopping they would firmly state, “Get what you need, then we are going home.”  They were too embarrassed to be seen with Jamila in public. 

Withdrawn and Disconnected

Jamila, already self-conscious of her scars and appearance, began to withdraw and became emotionally disconnected from people. Eventually Aman and their son joined Jamila, but she continued to spend most of her time cooped up in their apartment. 

This is when I met Jamila. One practical way I showed love to her was to not be embarrassed by Jamila’s appearance, especially when we were out in public. After spending several months with her, I was finally able to take Jamila to get her hair done; it was the first time in four years that she had visited a hair salon!

Jamila knows that I love her for who she is. As a result, it has not only opened Jamila’s heart emotionally, but also spiritually. I have been able to enjoy many conversations about Jesus with Jamila just by accepting her, scars and all! 

Jamila knows that I love her for who she is.

When Christ walked on earth, He talked to and spent time with those who were outcasts, looked down upon by their society. Today ministry is much the same: it often includes walking with those who are lonely and unloved by people in the community where they live. And all it takes is people like you and me to do this.

*Names have been changed for security reasons. 

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