This story is from a Global Worker in a European country who teaches refugees the local language.
E is a 16-year-old Afghan boy who came to this country alone two months ago. He is normally cheerful and is trying hard to learn. One day we were alone in the classroom during a break and I started a conversation:
Me: You look tired today, E.
E: (shaking his head) No good sleep.
E: (waving his hands around his head, grimacing)
Me: Bad dreams?
E: (nodding, grimly staring at the floor) I see father, brother…
It’s evident he is remembering their bodies lying on the ground.
Me: Oh no….Taliban?
E: (slowly, heavily) Ta.li.ban.
E went on to say that their house was burned, and he doesn’t know the whereabouts of his mother and siblings. I don’t know how he got to this country, but it wouldn’t have been an easy decision to come, or an easy journey. When with others, he puts on a smile and distracts himself with language learning, but when alone, he can’t avoid the anxious thoughts, the grief, and maybe survivor’s guilt. He is grateful to be safe, but is grieving the loss of all who were close to him. Family ties are very strong and important in his culture. Without them, a person can hardly know who he is.
“[country omitted], good,” E stresses. “No family, bad.”
I’ve seen this before. It will take time and support for him to recover from the trauma and move forward in his life. But E is resilient, and he will eventually feel more settled and find a new identity.
In the meantime, I can help provide the distraction of language learning, encouragement, ensuring successful moments, building rapport in the class, and softening the hurt with fun and laughter.
We pray for him, and many like him that we work with here:
Lord, this boy has lost his home, his people, and his sense of belonging. Let him be embraced by your people here. Let him find his way home to you.
Steps You Can Take to Help:
- Would you take a moment to pray for E and our Global Workers this week?
- Where can you volunteer in your community once a month or once a week to help incoming refugees?
- Can you give to our relief fund and help our Global Workers help Afghan refugees? Click here.
- Afghanistan prayer guide
- Jacob’s Story
- Would you like to explore short-term opportunities? Click here.
- Would you like to talk to someone about serving in refugee ministry? Complete this form to speak to someone.
Header Image by Makalu from Pixabay