House of Joy

by Naphtali / Borderless Media Team Leader

Nestled beside the road in a city in Virginia lies a sweet little two story that tells of days gone by through its hardwood floors and white-paneled walls.

Two ladies live in this home. They are both involved in outreach ministry to immigrants and refugees through teaching ESL and helping with a local non-profit. Outside of this, they host ladies in their home that they meet through the organization. They have toys for children, tea at the ready, and lots of comfy chairs.

Vera has spent her life serving the unreached. Born in South Asia, she served in her home country, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. God then brought her to the US to serve.

Vera loves to hold events at this house shared with her roommate, welcoming in immigrant and refugee ladies. She desires to see them find healing, both spiritually and emotionally. “I had worked with survivors of trauma, and I saw the impact of trauma on people, especially children,” Vera said. “I have seen the impact of early childhood trauma leading to a range of serious behavioral health disorders that last a lifetime. Sadly, it even has negative effects on an individual’s spiritual health. Our merciful God alone can bring healing to these heart wounds.” She’s experimenting with a program called Trauma Healing created by the American Bible Society.

Another way she has been facilitating healing is through art! She sits with women and gives them prompts or specific projects. In fact, she and a woman did a piece of art together. Vera started it, and the woman finished it. Vera keeps some of the artwork on display in her home.

Behind her home is a playground and a walking trail. This allows the women to take their kids out to play when they come for visits, and at times, go for walks. She also likes to cook with them.

People who immigrate, especially refugees, often go through a lot before ending up in their new home. They leave so much of their world behind. Family. Friends. Their earthly belongings. They may have to leave suddenly or witness horrific events that take place in front of their eyes and all around them. These things can leave them in a state of deep struggle and sadness. Vera shared one story of a lady who was struggling and asked her: “Can I come to church with you?” Part of the ministry of ESL class involves praying with the immigrants and refugees, and they watch God answering these prayers and are hungry for more.

Relationships take time to grow. Finding ways to build relationship and community doesn’t happen overnight. Vera is in a season of curating events that will lead to effective ministry, and already she’s seeing the beginnings of fruit.

Vera’s hope is that these ladies will find Jesus. The spiritual aspect can be a slow process. “I trust that seeds are being planted,” she said. 

“Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I’m drinking my coffee and I thank God for this house,” Vera said. As we talked about it being a “house of joy,” she thought of these joy-filled verses:

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord!

I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

The Sovereign Lord is my strength!

He makes me as surefooted as a deer,

able to tread upon the heights.”

Habakkuk 3:18-19 NLT

Vera holds the artwork that she created with one of the ladies.

Tea always at the ready.

Comfy chairs for the moms and a play kitchen for the kids.

Sweet little welcoming details.

Books in the language of the ladies who are welcomed in.

May God bless this house and keep it. May his face shine down upon each person who enters it and give them joy in himself.