By Ashley Baker, TFG Iowa Director
Last week, Together for Good in Iowa was overjoyed to have our first hosting!
This hosting has challenged and stretched us from the very first phone call, due to the fact that this participant mom does not speak any English. Due to this communication barrier, we needed extra help and extra grace and God has provided both in abundance.
Nelsey is a mom of three beautiful kiddos, Franklin (4), Ashley (2) and baby Nelson, who is a newborn and was just released from the NICU. Nelsey has endured suffering, some of it very recently. She is a strong mom who pushes through to care for her children all while overcoming many barriers, including communication and transportation.
Nelsey needed someone to watch her kiddos while she spent time caring for her newborn in the NICU, walking through surgery and his release from the hospital.
Our host mom Liz stepped in to care for Franklin and Ashley with so much kindness and compassion, despite the fact that these kiddos speak only Spanish and Liz and her children do not.
They had a wonderful day, playing and laughing together. Liz patiently cared for them, overcoming the language barrier between them. This gave Nelsey the room she needed to care for Nelson and bring him home safely, knowing her older children were in good hands.
When it was time to bring the kids home, some hilarious moments ensued when it took 15 whole minutes of using all of the Spanish Liz and I could muster to coax Franklin to get off the potty. We tried our best to communicate that it was “time to go see mama,” but Franklin was more interested in sitting on the potty and playing with a toy fishing rod, exclaiming “Pescado! Pescado!” It was a great bonding opportunity for us. 🙂 We learned that a 4-year-old’s stubbornness is universal, no interpretation needed!
Liz said of the experience, “My heart grew yesterday to include these two sweet kids. I had my own sick kiddo and we didn’t know the same language but God is bigger than that.”
As for our TFG team in Iowa, we have been stretched to rely on God more than ever.
We’re praising God for His grace and blown away by our volunteers.
We’ve fallen in love with this participant family and these sweet kiddos. Our compassion and empathy have grown as we’ve witnessed the difficulties non-English-speaking parents face as they care for their children in this country.
Through this experience, God has provided Together for Good with three tremendous volunteers who have helped us with translating over the past couple of weeks, as well as an incredible host family and a support volunteer who has given Nelsey and her kids rides to resource appointments to help them get the support they need to thrive.
Several church partners have also come together to donate clothes and diapers for this family as they get back on their feet.
Each believer and church has a role they can play as we move out in faith to come alongside vulnerable children and families.
Loving families that may not look exactly like ours means reaching out a hand of help, even when it doesn’t come naturally. It means being creative, flexible and willing to problem-solve.
We’re so thankful for our volunteers who were willing to step into this situation with us.
We will continue to walk alongside this family with our team of volunteers, and we can’t wait to see what else God has in store!