About a month ago, a group of Basilica Young Adults got together and packaged toiletry kits for incoming refugee families. Coming with only a suitcase, these toiletry kits provide toothbrushes, soap, and shampoo – things most of us take for granted every day. Every refugee that comes to Minnesota through Lutheran Social Services receives one of these kits. By the end, we’d packaged 40 kits for incoming refugee families to use in the months to come.
A week after this event, I came across one of my favorite childhood books, Rachel’s Rainbow. While some of the appeal of this book was more than likely that the protagonist shared a name with me, the story is a wonderful one, too. It tells of a young girl who has never seen a real rainbow. After packing a peanut butter sandwich (my favorite too!), she heads out on an adventure to find a rainbow. As she walks, she passes by a tree filled with bright red apples, climbs the tree, and adds a ruby red apple to her basket. As she continues on her journey, she finds an orange maple leaf gently gliding down from a tree, which she adds to her basket as well. As the day continues, she collects more and more objects, all the while continuing to hunt for a rainbow. She eventually heads home, disappointed. However, she later realizes that she already has a rainbow in her basket, a rainbow of colorful objects that God has made.
As I was reflecting on this packaging event, I was trying to figure out what about it was so powerful. I was searching for that “rainbow” event. However, I realized that there often is no “rainbow” moment where God’s presence pierces through the sky into our hearts. More often, God is revealed piece by piece.
As Dawn, a member of the family mentor team, talked about her experiences with the family the Basilica has sponsored, I could see God’s love and care in her tearful eyes. As Cate, our wonderful representative from LSS, talked about Minnesotan refugees, I could feel God’s passion in her words and deep knowledge. As I listened to other young adults ask probing questions and give up a Saturday morning (harder to do than you’d think for us young adults), I felt surrounded by God.
I feel so much gratitude for the experiences this co-sponsorship has allowed me to have. I am becoming more and more convinced that it is not Minnesota’s refugees that are most impacted by the work of this wonderful community, but me. I am the one experiencing God’s love – piece by piece – through this wonderful ministry.