Throughout scripture, God is adamant in proclaiming that those who worship him must always protect and serve the most vulnerable among us, especially orphans, widows, and immigrants.[i] If we hope to fully experience the blessing of God’s love and grace, we must be willing to embrace and accept our human vulnerabilities. This week’s blog on the Gift of Vulnerability is a collaborative effort, reflecting a dialogue between Trinity Senior Pastor, Tracey Leslie and Neetu Sinha, a local immigrant.
Neetu came to the United States in September, 2014 when her husband began work through a university in Pennsylvania. In 2015, they came to Purdue University. However, Neetu was unable to remain with her husband and found herself on her own in this country. At the time, she knew very little English. Although she had a Masters in Physics she had earned in India, after marrying she could not work outside the home or even leave her home without her husband’s consent.
When she found herself on her own, it was a frightening and isolating experience. She didn’t know the language adequately and her housing situation was extremely precarious. Initially, the housing situation was an enormous concern and anxiety. At least a half dozen different entities – the immigrant students group at Purdue, local Indian organizations (like the Indian Women’s Association), individuals and local not-for-profits (like Lafayette Urban Ministries and Trinity United Methodist Church) worked together with Neetu over the course of about six months until she was able to move into Trinity’s Lily House where she remained for more than a year.
Susan Brouillette from the Immigration Clinic at LUM became a primary support for Neetu as she helped her navigate the immigration process and learn her rights, as well as potential dangers and vulnerabilities she faced as an immigrant.
Even after reliable housing was secured, Neetu needed to learn English; she needed to learn the bus routes and where she could walk safely. Even things as simple as where to go and what to do if she was sick or injured were major concerns and new challenges to face. But, most of all, she needed to learn the experience of community so she would not feel so isolated, discouraged, and depressed. She went to LARA to learn English and now volunteers there. She also volunteers at LUM where the Immigration Clinic has continued to assist her. She volunteers at Imagination Station since she loves working with children. She wants to be well-connected to her neighborhood so she is a part of Friends of Downtown (helping with Mosey and other downtown events and activities). She has volunteered at the International Center at Purdue and at Food Finders. She volunteers for community events at Trinity U.M. Church.
In the midst of her vulnerability and discouragement, Neetu chose to step out boldly and work to establish connections with individuals and organizations in her community; she was determined to connect to others in meaningful ways; she was committed to serving others in need, despite her own profound needs. She is much happier now. Neetu says, “Every day I’m learning. [Before] life was hell and I wasn’t happy. But I believe God. When I have a problem, I pray and I know everything will be fine.”
Neetu’s story is a reminder that even in our most vulnerable situations in life, there is hope and joy if we can learn to trust God and to be courageous in reaching out to others to learn, discover and build meaningful relationships with those around us.
[i] See, for example, Deuteronomy 24:17-22 and Matthew 25:31-46.
This week, engage more deeply with the spiritual practice of vulnerability or submission
To engage more deeply with the Spiritual Practice of Vulnerability or Submission, consider the following:
See what people are saying about Trinity. Read and watch testimonies.