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Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas and Immigrants

While receiving a cherished Christmas missionary phone call from my son in Taiwan yesterday, a Hmong woman and her daughter showed up at our house with hot egg rolls - the best ever - and some other treats, including her special sweet rice dish wrapped in banana leaves. She looked so happy to be doing something nice for us - she was just glowing. The food was exceptionally good! Meanwhile, I was anxiously awaiting word from Anchorage, Alaska where one of my favorite Hmong families just arrived without really knowing what they were getting into. How grateful I was to find out that there is a Hmong branch in Alaska and Hmong-speaking missionaries who might be able to help them. A great relief.

In talking with friends from Mexico, Laos, India, Montenegro and China in the past few weeks, the challenges of being an immigrant in a strange land have been impressed upon me in several ways. There is so much that can be achieved with a little advice, a little help, a few donated items, or a some legwork on their behalf. In thinking about the challenges of immigration, I fondly recall one of my favorite Christmas experiences based on a simple but very kind donation from a member of our ward. I relate "The Miracle of the Pink Coat" in a 2005 blog post.

For my friends in Alaska, how grateful I am that there will be "instant family" waiting for them in the marvelous fellowship that comes from membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Thanks to the Saints in Anchorage for already reaching out and helping the newcomers in your midst!

Thanks to all of you who help the poor and needy around you, many of whom are strangers from afar who need a friend. What a great time to remember our own immigrant status as pilgrims and strangers in this foreign mortal world, anxious to return to our Heavenly Father's presence. Meanwhile, we all have work to do to bless and strengthen one another.

1 comment:

Tracy Keeney said...

Lovely, post Jeff! We have a Mexican family down the street who always brings us homemade tamales in exchange for homemade bread.
When we move it will be sad to have
Christmas without the tamales!