Guest / Limited Access /
Chased by Grace

After moving to Portland, Oregon, Sarah Thebarge blogged about her unexpected friendship with a Somali refugee woman and her five young daughters. As Thebarge prepared to sell the stories as a book to start a college fund for the girls, she realized that her own experience of being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 27—and the suffering and loss that came with it—was a part of their shared story. Thebarge, author of The Invisible Girls: A Memoir (Jericho Books), spoke with CT assistant editor Elissa Cooper about seeing people who go largely unnoticed and uncared for, discovering she herself was one of them.

Before you met the Somali family, did you have experiences with immigrant or refugee families?

No. I always had an affinity for people who were marginalized, but when I was in Portland, I was still so broken from getting over the cancer experience that I wasn't looking to reach out to anybody. When I met the Somali family, it was personal. I loved them not specifically because they were refugees, but because they were beautiful girls created in God's image.

There's danger when you tell a story like this, because it tends to be the well-off white person swooping in and saving the black people. While the Somali family wasn't well off in terms of money, they were incredibly wealthy in terms of resilience, joy, and love. While I was helping them get on their feet, they were loving me and helping me heal. Things in our typical mainstream culture don't reach your soul the way that a little girl crawling in your lap or having a dance party to African music in the living room can. I helped them not freeze to death or starve to death, but they saved my life more than I could have ever saved ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedThe Pastor's Wife Who Went Crazy: A guest post by Heather Palacios
The Pastor's Wife Who Went Crazy: A guest post by Heather Palacios
Heather Palacios shares about seeing the goodness of God amidst intense mental turmoil.
TrendingReligious Freedom vs. LGBT Rights? It's More Complicated
Religious Freedom vs. LGBT Rights? It's More Complicated
The legal context for what's happening at Gordon College, and how Christians can respond despite intense cultural backlash.
Editor's PickMeet the Failed Pastor Who Ministers to Other Failed Pastors
Meet the Failed Pastor Who Ministers to Other Failed Pastors
J. R. Briggs sympathizes with church leaders who don't live up to expectations.
Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article. Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or register for a free account.

Christianity Today
Chased by Grace
hide thisMay May

In the Magazine

May 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.