[T]he next city I found myself in was Denver. I volunteered with Denver Ignite Ministries. They reach out to the large population of Burmese refugees that have been relocated there. I was very blessed to get connected to such a great ministry. They have been around for a few years and are still trying to figure out how to best go about ministering to the community. I was fortunate enough be there while they were focusing on the youth. A few days out of the week they go out and gather the youth and have discipleship training. Very much like a church service, the pastor teaches on the important basic lessons of the Bible such as salvation. Many of the youth have never heard or understand anything about the Bible or Jesus. After the lessons, they split up into different groups for activities. Some go to learn English; others to play sports, there are multiple options. I went with the Helping Needs group.

Helping Needs is simply where you can go out and helping the needs of the people in the community. While I was there we were cleaning out a basement of a local shop so that it could be used as a place where people who need clothes can come in and take anything they need. We cleaned out the basement, I built a rack that the nicer clothes could be hung on, and we organized all the donated clothes. It was great once we were finished to see how we turned an unused basement into a place that the community could use to donate and take clothes from.

While working in the basement I asked some questions about the situation that these youth are in. From what I learned the majority of the youth love it here in America and have a lot of hope for their own futures, most of their parents do not have the same view. They had to leave their homes because of civil war, taken from their communities and continually relocated until they were placed in Denver. They didn’t have a choice and find it hard to get jobs and keep their families afloat. They were place in government housing in a very bad part of Denver and don’t have much hope of getting out. Many of them do not speak English and do not understand a lot of the paper work, laws, and other legalities that they should know to flourish where they are. I learned that a lot the parents of the kids really just hate it there and wish they could go back to their homes, but they don’t have that option and they will most likely never see their homeland again. It is a really sad situation. The hope they have for their children though is amazing. At the same time that they are struggling with being in a new country with very little opportunities themselves, they love the fact that their children are getting well educated and have the opportunity for a blessed life here in America. It is a bitter sweet situation, but I see hope in the fact that they are welcoming the support from people such as Denver Ignite Ministries.

brian

I think the biggest thing I learned during my time in Colorado was how important it is to be present. Often times it is hard to stay motivated to serve somewhere when you know you will not see the fruits of your labor. This is something I struggled with in San Francisco, knowing that the connections and conversations I had with people was all I got to be a part of for their own personal journey. Though I do not get to see these youth that I got to meet grow up and try to live a Christ like life, I have to be content knowing that they are in good hands and have their own purpose and path that may never cross with mine again. Being present on this trip has been very key to stay positive and motivated. It has made me focus on what I am doing and the importance of doing the good in the moments I get to share with the people I have met and will continue to meet. I know there is purpose and plan in what I am doing, but being present and content with not know what the outcomes may be is the most important thing to me while I continue on this journey.