God Colors in Tri

Meet Tri.


This is how Tri studies feet.

Tri is my little sister from another continent.

Tri is my spiritual mentor.

Tri is a preacher. Her life story speaks volumes for overcoming the trials of living in a fallen world and the power of God to transform lives. She demonstrates a joy that transcends sorrowful circumstances. And if that wasn’t enough, God gave her a pastor’s tongue that speaks through language barriers to deliver messages of transformative encouragement.

Here, Tri's speaking at our first One7 Academy end of year ceremony.

Here, Tri’s speaking at our first One7 Academy end of year ceremony.

I first met her four years into America. I was helping One7 Ministries set up One7 Academy, and she was to be my first student.

Through the short years I’ve known her, I have been privileged to see God transform her and use her to reveal His glory. I treasure this letter she gave me during our first year of school together. The message captures her heart, and is embodied in the language of a displaced refugee.

Tri's Letter exerpt

In the classroom, Her fun-loving bubbliness invigorated everyone. Her compassion was a counseling force. And in those moments when she was feeling downtrodden or distraught, the whole class felt the weight of mourning.

Fortunately, she was a lot more bubbly then melancholy.

Fortunately, she was a lot more bubbly than melancholy.

Now, God has set Tri up to be a leader among the other displaced refugees finding their way in east Charlotte. They’re lost, confused, and many of them live in fear. It’s hard for someone like me to know how to comfort them. But God has set up Tri as a sympathizer that knows their pain. She sits down with those who are hurting and shares words of wisdom that she’s learned from her experiences.

I count myself lucky to know her and always look forward to hearing what she has to say. Here are a few of my favorites:

“This is not home for me. Heaven is home for me. And I know that He holds me in His arms.”

“I can’t change people’s life only God can do that. All I can do is pray.”

“People who are shy now speak, and people who walked alone now are surrounded by people, and people who hate now know how to love.” (speaking about the people involved in One7 Ministries who’ve been transformed by God’s love)

“Our God is a rich god. He can have whatever He wants.”

Tri embodies 1 Timothy 4:12:

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

Tri sets an example for me to follow. I may have taught her a few things in class, but by the end of the year, she had taught me so much more!

Photo Challenge: From Above

I’m squeaking this in at the last minute. Tonight I got to visit my Christian family at One7 again. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been there and missed them terribly.

The place was buzzing with kids and adults of all ages and ethnicity. During our time of worship, I stood on the second floor balcony and took some pictures. I’ve always loved how One7 does worship. They hug each other the whole time. They hold hands, they jump up and down, they scream and shout and clap. Among the crowd were a few small kids that caught my attention. I think I caught their attention, too.

Yellow Dress Girl Red Shirt Girl

Taking pictures of the girls from above reminded me of a beautiful scene of kids playing that I was fortunate enough to capture in Israel, back in 2008. Children in Jerusalem Little Boy in Jerusalem alley

These were taken looking into an alley way in Jerusalem. I honestly don’t remember why we were on top of a building or what we were supposed to be looking at. These kids stole all my attention.

The original Photo Challenge post:


God Colors in Charlotte, NC

Before I went to Brazil, I was working with an inner city ministry in Charlotte called One7. The ministry is a vital outreach to refugee and immigrant families in the area. Their work is limitless. They do everything from after school tutoring to delivering food to replacing bedbug infested mattresses. Any need that is brought to their door becomes a part of their ministry. They began a school in 2009 to help the students who were being ignored in the public system. I’ve helped them teach, tutor, serve food, buy food, deliver food, build relationships with parents, find medical care for refugees, and more. But that is just a piece of what they do in East Charlotte.

This is the story of One7. They love people unconditionally. It doesn’t matter who they are, where they came from, how they got there, or what they’re doing. The president and his wife, David and MC Garrett, pour their hearts and lives into people from all treks of life. Anyone who shows up at their doorstep is welcome.

This local article gives a glimpse into the lives that are transformed at One7 Ministries. The story of Jenry may make your jaw drop, but for an untold population living in the margins of Charlotte, it’s not so strange:

Garinger High Revives Soccer Program to Motivate ESL Students

I’m honored to have been a part of what God is doing through One7 Ministries. I’ve seen God do things through them that I haven’t seen anywhere else.

If you would like to learn more about One7 Ministries, visit their website at one7.org

Last poem for NaPoWriMo

When You give the butterfly its wings,
does it say “thank you?”
What does that sound like?
Is it more beautiful than English?
Is it the sound of their whispering wing beats
As they go from petal to leaf?
When You give the fish it’s gills to breathe,
Does it say “thank you?”
Does it sound like silvery bubbles,
Or currents running through the ocean depths?
I thought that “thank you”s were said with tongues,
But my tongue can’t wrap words around the thought.
I thought I was lacking vocabulary.
I’ve searched for better words–
Scouring the limits of English.
But “thank you” isn’t found in any words.
Nothing matches the sound of leaves saying “Thank you” for the sun.
Or the sound of whales saying “Thank you” for the strength in their tales.
And written, it isn’t any better.
The letters are stiff and stagnant on a page.
Even when I try to bend them and make the tale curl like a butterfly’s proboscis,
It’s not a pretty “thank you.”
Not like the sky blushing in red and pink when it says “thank you.”
Or the peony’s feathery petals that spell out Your name.
“Thank you” falls flat from my lips
And dies on a page.
“Thank you” needs movement to live.
The wind calls such a beautiful “thank you” as it runs across the earth–
Brushing leaves that tickle and giggle,
Pushing clouds and forming storms.
It could never say it standing still.
So I have to learn to say “thank you” with more than words.
With my work
With my action
With every blink and breath and goose bump.
With every kind thing I do
And every answer to You
I say “thank you.”


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