In case anyone has been watching—my blog entries have gone from weekly to every-other-week. The fact is, although I am still daily trying to keep my commitment to living as the Good Samaritan, life has gotten unbelievably, absolutely incredibly BUSY!
My husband is traveling EVERY week for two months, my incredible son is submitting mission papers and graduating in less than a month, and my sweet daughters are all wrapping up end-of-year activities. That means a lot of concerts, art shows, etc., etc. … oh, and we have the gorgeous PHILADELPHIA TEMPLE!!! The very first temple in Pennsylvania EVER is opening this summer for tours and we are so excited! (If you’re looking to tour a Mormon temple, now is the time! The open house will run from August 10th to September 9th. This will be the last big temple on the east coast—and it is stunningly beautiful! www.templeopenhouse.lds.org )
So, life has been busy—and … amazingly … peaceful as the Lord continues to teach me through my personal challenge to live as the Good Samaritan would.
Last autumn our family donated a box of household starter goods to a refugee service center. When I dropped off the box of toothbrushes, shampoo, bathroom cleaners, etc. to the Nationalities Service Center, I felt a strong pull to do more. So I reached out to their online volunteer sign-up and started a process that took me several months to complete—partly because I didn’t get my paperwork act together and partly because it’s a very thorough screening process! This particular organization has been helping with refugee relocation since 1921—they are America’s oldest such organization. They’ve had several name changes over the years, but it is clear as I toured their facilities that they are a well-run organization.
As we discussed which opportunities would be the best fit for myself and my family—it was abundantly clear that I wanted to be a mentor. I want to really get to know someone’s story and know that we were an integral part of their American experience. I wanted my children to experience another culture and to learn, through service, how very blessed they have been in their lives. These refugees spend YEARS living without a home, waiting for the background checks and government approvals before they are granted the chance to come and make a new life for themselves. They have experienced war and horror that I cannot imagine.
A mentor comes into a refugee’s life about 3-6 months after they arrive. Initially, the refugees work with the center to move into a new home, job, and life. Then they are mentored, and they learn about living in their new area. —Where can they find the local ethnic grocery stores for their cultural needs? How do they use a laundry-mat? How do they use the bus? More than anything, a mentor is to be a friend to the refugee.
As I learned more about their mentoring program, I thought- Show them how to wash clothes? I can do that. Show them where to buy food? I LOVE food and ethnic stores are easily located on google maps. A friend? I can do that.
I am so excited to go through training at the end of this summer and to begin this adventure of REALLY making a difference for someone who needs it.
The morning after my interview and facility tour, I received an email from a woman in our congregation, looking for a baby-gate. I happened to have one stored in our basement, so I ran it over after dropping my darlings at school that morning.
Her youngest has begun climbing stairs and took a tumble; hence the need for a baby-gate! I asked how she was doing. She shared how she’s actually been really struggling since moving into the area a year ago. Her husband’s job has demanded a lot of his time, leaving her home alone with their three little ones, and her neighbors aren’t very friendly. As we chatted, I couldn’t help but think that what she needed was a mentor.
She was new to the area a year ago, and struggled to learn where the stores, doctors, etc. were. She was new to the area a year ago, and struggled with a different culture. (Anyone who has lived in western America and also in eastern America, understands that they are VERY different cultures!) She wanted, she needed, a friend.
So many people are struggling with depression and loneliness—this journey of reaching outside of myself this year has shown me SO many areas where people are lonely and in need of a friend. Old folks homes, new people moving into the area, contractors working on my home … everywhere I look, there are people needing a friend, needing someone to care.
It’s interesting, my whole life I’ve wanted to BE something, to DO something. When I was little, I used to imagine secret cameras recording my every move—and this was looong before reality TV made that a reality for some individuals. As I have done this challenge to live as the Good Samaritan, I have realized that the BIGGEST difference I can really make in the world is to simply make a difference in someone’s life—to be a friend.
Growing up all over the world gave Emlee Taylor an opportunity to see the incredible differences the Lord created in humanity; and even better, the passions we all share as members of the human race: love for family, faith, & a desire to make a difference. Emlee lives life with passion—focusing her time now on raising four children and teaching them to recognize truth and to live true to that truth, regardless of others’ expectations. Emlee is passionately in love with her bestest friend and husband of more than 20 years.