Clara’s New Friends

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Clara’s New Friends
Photo by Julie Ricard on Unsplash

Mommy, why are we going to Halima’s house?” Clara was curious. She had never been to a refugee family’s home before.

“Well, honey,” Mommy answered as she navigated the car around corners on the road, “her family is happy for how we’ve been helping them get settled and they want to say thank you!” 

“I’m kinda nervous,” Clara whispered.

“Why, honey?” Mommy asked.

“’I don’t know them,” Clara answered. “What if I don’t know what to say? What if they can’t understand me?”

“They are nice, Clara.” Mommy’s voice was reassuring. “Halima has two girls that are about your age. I think you’ll like them.”

It was hard for Clara to explain what she was feeling to Mommy. Mommy had been helping Halima’s family for a while with things they needed. Clara had even helped pick out the cleaning supplies for the family. That had been fun. And she’d sorted through her clothes and toys and picked out some things she wanted to give to Halima’s kids. But going to their house? That was different!

Halima’s family were Muslim refugees from Afghanistan. Clara wasn’t exactly sure what that meant. She knew they had different beliefs than she did and wondered if she would see any idols in their house. Clara fiddled nervously with her seat belt.

“Clara, don’t worry! You’re going to be fine,” Mommy reassured from the front seat of the car. “They are nice people!”

“Do I have to eat while we’re there?” Clara had a hard time trying new foods. “What if I don’t like it?”

“Just a little,” Mommy reassured her. “There should be rice and bread, so you’ll definitely have something to eat!”

“But what if I don’t know what to talk about with them?” Clara asked. She was shy around new people.

“Just be interested in them and smile. You’ll make friends fine.” Mommy reached back and squeezed Clara’s hand. “Let’s pray about it, honey.”

“OK,” Clara whispered.

Mommy prayed, “Dear Jesus, Clara is nervous about going to visit Halima and her family. Please be with her and give her Your peace. Help her to know that You love her and will take care of her. And Jesus, please help us to be a blessing to Halima and her family.”

Soon Mommy pulled up in front of a crowded row of houses with short driveways. They looked strange to Clara. It was nothing like her home in the mountains with a long driveway and lots of trees. Mommy gave Clara a big hug as they got out of the car. “You’re going to be OK, love,” she reassured her. Then they got their gift for Halima’s family out of the trunk and walked to the front door.

Halima greeted them with a smile. Clara looked around the home with big eyes. It didn’t look anything like she had expected. There was a colorful carpet with fancy patterns on it. White leather couches, small glass and gold tables, and a big mirror on the wall made the room look bright and interesting. There was nothing scary looking, but it was all very different than Clara’s home with its wooden furniture, piano, and soft brown couch. 

“This is Beheshta and Samira,” Halima said, motioning to two young girls. They were pretty with their light-brown skin and thick black hair.

“Would you like to come to our room?” the older one asked with a smile.

“Go ahead,” Mommy said, giving Clara a gentle push. Clara slowly followed the two girls upstairs, trying to remember their names. The girls welcomed her into their room.

“Do you want to make some crafts with us?” Beheshta held out a box of brightly colored beads.

“I don’t know how,” Clara said, looking down at her toes. Honestly, she didn’t like beads. They always fell off the string before she was done, and it made her mad.

“We’ll show you,” Samira said with a giggle. “It’s not hard.” She pulled out some thin wire and showed Clara how to string the beads.

At first Clara’s fingers felt clumsy with the tiny beads, but it got easier as she practiced.

It wasn’t long until Mommy called Clara and the girls to come and eat. Clara felt relieved as she looked at the food on the counter. There was some spicy-smelling curry, but there was also rice bread and salad. After dinner the girls went back upstairs to draw pictures. Clara liked that a lot better, and she was surprised when Mommy said it was time to go home.

As they drove home, Clara asked, “Mommy, what are Muslims?” She was a little surprised! They hadn’t been as different as she had imagined.

“They are children of God just as we are. They believe in the Creator God and call Him Allah,” Mommy explained. “But they don’t believe that Jesus was God. They think He was a great prophet. They also follow a book called the Quran instead of the Bible.”

“So they believe in God?” Clara wanted to know.

“Yes,” Mommy answered, “but they don’t fully understand God’s love or how Jesus came to save us from our sins. We get to show them Jesus’ love.”

Clara had to think about that for a bit. “I’m so glad we went to visit Halima and her family!” she finally said. “Beheshta and Samira are nice.”

Mommy smiled. “So, do you think you’d like to visit them again?”

Clara giggled. “I think I can do that. We had a lot of fun together.”

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