How Saint Louis Showed Me The Practical Love Of God By Morgan Diecks

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Over the course of my life, I’ve always felt a deep calling towards standing against the many injustices that are apparent throughout our world. When I learned that our trip to Saint Louis would be mostly focused around areas of social justice, there was a seed of anticipation planted within me. Throughout the trip, it seemed as if God was continually sparking the question, “ How can I help to create an effective environment to give people the tools they need for success, while also providing them with a community to grow in and build the relationships they need?”

This question first presented itself whilst listening to the story of a Congolese refugee. He talked about how one of the most difficult things for him, once he was here in the United States, was building relationships with people and finding a community. He mentioned that while many of the refugee centers in the area were able to help him figure out all the legal and logistical problems with being here, they lacked the ability to provide him with community.

Sitting there, listening to his story, I began to imagine what it would look like to open some form of a refugee center that would incorporate helping people face legal obstacles like obtaining a U.S. citizenship, practical issues like obtaining a driver’s license, and provide them with a support system of people who are able to do life alongside them.  

Throughout the rest of the trip, I was able to see how different ministries were already bringing to life this idea of mine. I first saw this at the Christian Activity Center (CAC), where they were working to provide a safe environment for children and teens in East Saint Louis. Not only were they creating a place for young people to grow and learn, but they were also trying to work with the parents and local community to make life better for the kids. I was amazed at the love that the staff and volunteers truly had for the kids, and how they authentically worked to build trusting relationships with them.

At Oasis Refugee Center I again got to see this played out practically. Those at Oasis are not only working to help with legal issues for refugees and their families, but also with the practical issues involved in their daily lives. They aid in finding houses for the many refugees, helping them to make it a real home, teaching English, obtaining a driver’s license, and much more. Through things such as the language classes, these refugees are also able to help build a community among the people they are doing life with. It was an honor to get to serve alongside those who are authentically working to build trust and community with people who are often overlooked.

Overall, my time spent in Saint Louis was impactful and eye opening. God was able to provide me with a glimpse of what it looks like when you bring together a passion to serve others, an ability to see to their physical needs, and then to go beyond that and cultivate relationships that ultimately show the love of God. I’m excited to see how God continues to implement this within my life and how He’ll create opportunities for me to show His practical love.

Mary McKellick