This summer, we welcomed four interns for the summer. One of them was Jessica “Jess” Potter, whose picture you can see above. Today, I want to share about a moment where Jess experienced the power of friendship in our work.
For her internship, Jess served with Embrace Refugee Birth Support. She had gotten to know the 50+ moms who were pregnant during the summer extremely well.
One Friday, she got a call from one of them. A mom was experiencing a health complication and had to go to the hospital immediately.
“I booked it across town,” Jess said. The mother’s husband was at work, meaning Jess was the main support person on-site for this mom. Ultimately, she would stay with the mom for more than 10 hours of stressful hours of tests, translators, and seeing health providers sort through options to keep mom and baby healthy.
Although Jess spoke no Pashto, and the mom spoke little English, they felt bonded together. “We found other ways to communicate,” Jess said. They held hands. They made faces.
It was the mom’s first baby. Through a translator, the mom told Jess, “I’m so far from home and this is overwhelming.” Jess said she couldn’t imagine and squeezed her hand a little tighter.
Finally, the mom’s husband was able to arrive after work. Jess filled him in, let go of the mother’s hand, and turned to leave. Before she could step away, the mother grabbed her by the shoulders and kissed both of her cheeks profusely.
“You’re my sister now,” she said, “You’re my friend.”
When she shared this story, Jess’ voice trembled a bit. She said, “It was the moment that made me realize that through relationships like these, we can navigate situations that are really hard. That moment has left a deep mark on me.”
There is power in friendship. We call ourselves “friends” of refugees because Jess is right: it’s through relationships that we can face challenges and nurture flourishing communities together.
Three lives were transformed that day in the hospital: a mother’s, a baby’s, and Jess’. When we invite you to join us in this work of welcoming New Americans, it’s so you can experience a more abundant life, too.