Far From Home

Mon Mar 14 04:00:00 EDT 2022
Episode 85

Stories in this episode: Even though she's up against a language barrier, Bonnie takes matters into her own hands after noticing the refugee women she lives among on a military base don't have what they need; All of Ben's resources are expended when he's put in charge of providing meals for thousands of refugees, and he hits a breaking point. So he makes one phone call that teaches him just what—and who—it takes to be Christ’s hands while serving His children.

See the JustServe website and find local opportunities to serve: justserve.org

The International Rescue Committee also provides resources to serve: rescue.org

Bonnie strived to serve the refugee women on the military base, regardless of a language barrier:


As Business Operations flight chief Ben was tasked with helping to feed the thousands of refugees that came to stay on the Ramstein Air Base in Germany:



KaRyn Lay 0:00

Welcome to "This Is the Gospel," an LDS Living podcast where we feature real stories from real people who are practicing and living their faith every day. I'm your host, KaRyn Lay.

The news recently has been a lot to take in. And who are we kidding? It's been a lot to take in for a long time now, especially in this world of instant and constant connection.

But the current humanitarian crisis caused by the upheaval in Ukraine has been another brick on the pile of needless suffering that has just been pummeling at my heart and my spirit for–what feels like–years. If I'm being honest, some days, it's all too heavy. Even though I'm fully committed to this belief that stories can change us, I'm really tempted to retreat from the images of heartache that are everywhere.

There are actually a few theories that explain this kind of overwhelm in the face of big social trauma. And I learned about them in graduate school when I was studying the effects of viewing graphic images of war and violence–the kind of images that we're finding everyday in the news and sometimes in our social feeds.

You may have actually heard of the first theory, it's called ,"Compassion fatigue." It's the idea that people who are confronted over and over again with the highly emotional and empathy demanding experiences of others can become secondarily traumatized.

Compassion fatigue is sometimes said to be influenced by our sense of self efficacy. And that is the other fancy sounding theory that I learned in grad school. And it suggests that our belief in our ability to alleviate another person's suffering, that feeling that you can actually do something to help when you're confronted with the horrors and injustice or unrest.

Well, that feeling can actually combat compassion fatigue. Without it, when you feel helpless in the face of human suffering, your brain goes into overload and eventually you just have to shut down your empathic center in an effort to preserve yourself.

So here we are on a storytelling podcast, where we literally invite one another to listen and hear each other's stories of heartbreak, and hopefully healing, through Jesus Christ. And we the producers of this podcast have been thinking about what stories to tell during this time of deep humanitarian crisis, the millions of people displaced from their homes and homelands because of war, persecution, or the threat of persecution.

I think it's imperative to listen to refugees themselves, to intentionally seek out books, and podcasts and videos that offer a safe and healing place for our brothers and sisters, to share their stories in their own words.

And in fact, my dear friend Elali, herself a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, was totally willing to share her experience of coming to the United States five years ago, but then COVID struck again, and postponed our conversation just past the deadline for this episode. I'm really hopeful that we'll get to hear from her in a bonus episode when she's feeling better.

But in the meantime, we have two stories that we really hope will offer you a shot in the arm of self efficacy or reminder that you are not helpless or hopeless in the face of others suffering. Two stories from people, disciples of Christ just like you, just like me, who let the Lord guide them past compassion fatigue, so that they could show God's love to those who found themselves far from home.

Our first story today comes from Bonnie.

Bonnie 3:26

I walked into a bathroom one day in the middle of the summer, in the desert in Kuwait. I'm on a military base, the bathroom is a trailer. And the trailer has little stalls for military members to be able to do a quick shower and get out and do their business.

And as I walked in, there was probably 20 to 25 women, 30 children that were all crammed in, Afghan refugees that came to our base here in Kuwait that had traveled for days, had no food, no clothing, nothing on their backs. It was overwhelming.

Backpedal 41 years, my parents and siblings had an opportunity to move to Kuwait and I stayed in Southern California and stayed in high school with my older sister. I finished off my school years there and never was able to go to Kuwait. Growing up with a Palestinian father, the Middle East always had a place in my heart and we'd travel and we'd go to the West Bank and to Jordan where we had family and Jericho–but Kuwait was always kind of this nagging thing for me. And I put in the back of my head for decades, and I lived my life and career and didn't really pay attention to it.

Fast forward a couple of decades and it's 2020, the year of the pandemic and I'm in the restaurant industry. Well, what industry got the biggest hit? It was the restaurant industry. And so there was a lot of thinking time of–what am I doing? How am I being productive, and is this what I really want to do? There was a moment in September of 2020 where a friend of mine's mother had passed away.

And for days, I thought–I should really connect with her. I haven't seen this woman in 30 years, but I went to this woman's funeral. And through this connection, a opportunity came up to learn about the USO, which is the United Service Organization, which is a nonprofit organization that helps service members stay connected to home family and countries.

And so I did a little homework one night, and as I was looking at jobs for the USO, and what they did, hundreds of jobs came up. What did I see? Kuwait. Kuwait was probably four inches on the page and that's all I saw. And in that moment, my heart said, "You're going to Kuwait."

I have no military background whatsoever. No one military in the family, have no idea how to help service members, but knew that I was going to go work for the USO, help our service members and go live in Kuwait. Sent all my paperwork in, got the job and packed my bags and in January of 2021, set off to hit to Kuwait.

Got to the Middle East, super excited to be in Dubai and waited for my time to get my visa to go to Kuwait. And January came and went–no visa. February came and went–no visa. March came and went–no visa, my heart sank. I knew I was supposed to be in Kuwait.

Months go by–and beginning of August, a new command comes into the region. And this new command, the colonel said, "I need to get these people into Kuwait." So he did a lot of negotiations and he got us into Kuwait in three days. I landed in Kuwait, August 18th, 2021. On August 19, I went into a meeting for the base command.

And I hear, "We need to prepare because we're going to be receiving 6000 refugees. And by the way, 4000 service members out of Afghanistan in the next couple of days." This my first day. What do you mean? So I listened to the whole meeting. And I felt inspired afterwards to stand up and say, "Excuse me. My name is Bonnie, I'm the new manager at the USO. And by the way, I'm a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Who do we need to call? And what do we need to do?"

I just felt so inspired to say, "And a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." No, it wasn't set apart. No, I have no badge. No, I'm not sent here by the Church, but I do believe that we're all missionaries.

They all looked at me with you know, big eyes–again, I'm nobody in this room with lots of bells and whistles on their uniforms. And they said, "We need help." It was in that moment. I knew why I had to wait to come to Kuwait.

I didn't know quite what to do. So we made phone calls and doors opened. I had connections to bring in food, diapers, toothpaste, deodorant, sanitary supplies, and all the things that these refugees needed.

We built two tent cities here on the base to house these people. And we had all these supplies that came in and they weren't getting to the people. And I didn't understand that. And I kept looking at the major and I said, "We have all these things, why aren't they coming to pick up the diapers? Why aren't they coming to pick up the supplies?"

And he said, "We don't know what's happening." So trying to find out the disconnect of where the people are and why they weren't getting supplies led me to that bathroom. The smell of feces, the smell of urine, the smell of blood, dirt. . . and that's when I just took that deep breath in and said a prayer. The only thing that came out in my mind is "Help me." "Help me help them. I can't talk to them, just help me help them."

And I kind of scooched down and I saw the scared eyes and so I took off my mask so that the kids can see my face. And I started to talk to the kids and I just pointed to myself and I told them my name, "I'm Bonnie. I'm Bonnie." And then I would look at each of the women I would say, with my hands held out, "I'm here to help you."

And I'd hold their babies and look eye to eye and make contact and touch them and, and hold their hand and touch their shoulder and look at them and look all the way through them. And just let the Spirit talk–spirit to spirit. That I'm here to help you, and I love you and you're going to be okay, and we're going to do the best we can for you.

So I hurried around back to the major. And I said, "I know the problem. I know the problem. They're not getting supplies, because they're not talking to the soldiers. That's not part of their culture. And they're gonna be embarrassed." I go, "Well, let me help. Let me take this applies to them." And he said, "Bonnie, can you do that?" And I said, "Yes, I got a little red wagon!"

So I got my little red wagon, and I put supplies into it. And I'd go up and down the camps. And the women would just smile and come out of their doors and sneak this stuff, right and come and say, and then, "More, more"–they needed more. And so I would do that night after night, and go and be with them, and then ended up opening up a little shop and made it so the women can come during certain hours, and the men could come during certain hours so that women could be taken care of.

It wasn't hopeless anymore and it wasn't desperation it was–we gave them an opportunity to, to feel like there was hope. If I think about this, and apply it into my life and think about how the Savior serves us, I really appreciate the fact that we don't have to plan, we don't have to know, we don't have to prepare–we just have to be about our business, and go to work when directed.

I think a lot of times that I've thought, "Oh, I need to make a list and go visit and make sure I make this and do this and prepare a package and prepare a note." And I don't know if that's required, as much as how good it is to understand that we go about doing good when we can. And we rely on the Lord to show us the way and He'll help us do what we need to do. And it was nothing I could have prepared for–I mean, how did I end up in the bathroom in the middle of the desert in August of 2021? I ended up there because the Lord needed me there.

KaRyn Lay 12:44

That was Bonnie. We're so grateful to her for making the time to call us from Kuwait to share the story. It reminded me of the first time I was ever in a situation where I needed help but didn't speak the language. And it was when I was living in Korea, I had locked myself out of my apartment. And although the experience of pantomiming with the non-English speaking security guard until I was crying, and he was red faced and sweating-ly frustrated now feels like this fond comic memory–at the time, it was really scary.

I didn't know how to get help, I had no clue about how to communicate my needs. Luckily, a Korean speaking friend called me at just the right moment, but without her I'm pretty sure I would have been sleeping in the hallway that night.

For someone like me who loves words and feels some pride in my ability to communicate it was absolutely devastating and terrifying to find myself suddenly unable to meet my own basic needs without an interpreter.

But here's the thing, even if you haven't ever been confronted with a language barrier, we've all had a time when communication was stunted. A frozen zoom screen in the middle of an important conversation, a lost connection on the phone, a nonverbal parent, a crying baby that can't tell you what is wrong in the middle of the night–we've all been there at some point.

So when Bonnie said that the only thing she could think to do was to pray for the Lord's help in communicating, I suspect most of us can relate to that too. I love, love, love that she asked for help to help them and then got to work. She used the only language that the spirit actually cares about–love. Godly love. And in this circumstance that love looked like making eye contact, offering a kind touch, her sustained, non-judgmental presence in that unclean bathroom, her willingness to show up unsure and with all the humility of someone who knows God is actually in charge.

That love made it possible for her to know what she needed to know so she could help them. And here's where I think we get our lesson in self efficacy from Bonnie's story–we have the power to be a safe harbor for those who are far from home because we know how to listen to the Spirit.

When we commit to living the covenants that we've made at baptism, we will most certainly be presented with opportunities to mourn with strangers, to comfort strangers, and to go to strange places, even if it's just the house around the corner, different customs, clothing, foods, languages–those can all feel really foreign.

And we will not always know how to communicate effectively, and it's going to be awkward sometimes, like really, really awkward for everyone involved. But if we can learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, we'll be able to push past awkward to the place where we discover the familiarity of our shared humanity. The Spirit can take care of communicating the love, even if we can't communicate the words. Our final story today comes from Ben.

Ben 15:51

On August 19, I was headed to the Frankfurt Airport to drop my wife off, she was heading to Salt Lake City to take our daughter for her freshman year at BYU. But while driving up, something wasn't normal. I started getting a lot of texts. And I knew that something was starting to happen on the military base where I work. I work as the business operations flight chief at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

As the business operation, I oversee multiple restaurants on base, the golf course the bowling center and our club operations. We take care of the recreation opportunities for active duty military. And so getting this amount of texts when they knew it was a day that I was actually on leave was not normal.

So, I dropped my wife off at the airport and then I start heading back and head straight to base, even though it was–I taken the day off. And when I arrived at the base, we realized that within the next day or two, we were going to have guests start arriving. And these guests were actually refugees that were coming out of Afghanistan that needed to flee what was happening in their country.

We started hearing, "Get ready for big numbers." And when we started hearing that we started pulling all of our operational plans, what facilities are available, how many staff do we have–we started pulling what food we had on base. I then saw huge changes on our flightline. A city was being built on our flight line, tent after tent after tent. I saw tons of volunteers and military running around setting up these tents.

On Friday, the 20th, refugees started arriving at our base. And while refugees were arriving, we were still building tents and camps for them to stay in. We called each of the areas that we put them "Pods," and a pod could sleep anywhere from 3500 to 5000 people in–per pod. And we had multiple, multiple pods littering down the flight line. It's amazing, I would stand out there and look to see where I used to see aircraft lined up and now I saw nothing but tents and port-a-potties.

And we'd converted in a two to three day period, our flight line to house 20,000 people. And it was something like I'd never seen, I was just amazed. At that point is when I knew the work was really starting for us, because we only in the first day, a couple days, we had only 1000 or 2000. And we started cooking and started pushing food out.

We were also contracting out some of the food operations to take some of them, but my job was to pick up the slack in all the additional that we were getting. So until we could contract out and get more food on base, we would use our food supplies that we had on hand.

Every day more came and more came and not too many left. And then the next day more would arrive and not too many would leave. And we saw our numbers start going up. But then we started getting closer to the 31 August deadline for everyone to be out of Afghanistan.

The days leading up to that 31 August deadline, the planes started coming in. And they started coming in and it got so heavy that they were having to slow down the planes coming in because when a plane landed, the folks had to be screened. They had to go through, they had to get checked in process and then they had to–and then they would come to the lodging. So we really had two places of focus that I had to ensure that there was food to take care of the folks. The first one was all the arriving and departing, and then all of the people in permanent lodging. So we had those two areas that we were focused on.

On the 27th of August, I started my shift–I think it was a Friday morning. And I started around six o'clock in the morning. And that day, I don't think I've ever seen that much traffic coming through our airbase. And it was a plane after plane after plane. And it was amazing the amount of movement that we had, it was amazing, you could almost look down and out on the clear day and see a plane that was going to land and the next that was queued up behind it and the next that was behind that.

I had a lot of pride right there for the Air Force and for what they were accomplishing coming out of that. It's awesome when you work for 20 years with the military to see their–to see a lot of the things they prepare for and them executing just in such an amazing pattern.

Up until that point, my main focus had all been on taking care of the–of those that were in the tents. So we were feeding about 5000 to 8000–I think we'd maybe even hit 10,000 by this point during each meal period. So we had really been focused on that providing the three meals a day.

So that night, we fed–we fed the meal period. And as we're cleaning up from the meal period, I received a call. And it was a call for 1500 meals. And this was not just a . . . the person on the other side of the line, they had emotion behind that call. I hadn't–it's not something, it's not a call that I'd received in the prior week.

But they they said, "I need–" they begged for 1500 meals. And so I immediately turned around and I went to each one of our pods or areas and I assigned 500 to this pod, "I need you to make 500 more," I assigned 500 more to the next and 500 more the next thinking–we can get this 1500 meals ready to go.

And then an hour later, right when I'm getting ready to collect all those meals, I get a call, "That 1500 order, can you change it to 3000?" "I will, I'll get on that right now." And I change it, I go back and I tell them, "I know I told you, you could go, you could take a rest after 500 meals I need 1000 from you and I need 1000 from you all and I need 1000 from you."

And we loaded 1500 meals in this cargo truck. As I'm driving to the drop off point that I had never been to before because I hadn't been to that side of the base. I've been focused on the pods, I'm almost there. And my phone rings again that 3000 needs to go to 4000, "Really? 4000? Are you sure you need 4000?" And they said, "Yes, we're gonna need them."

So I pulled into where all the guests are coming in, and the planes land and then they put them on buses and take them to holding areas. I pull into the holding areas and I . . . I see a lot of refugees. I see a lot of people that have just left their homes. And you can tell that they left very quickly. And I start realizing that we're at the tip of the iceberg.

I drop off these 1500 meals as fast as I can. And while I'm dropping them off, they come running to me. "Is there more? "Is there more coming?" When I say, "They come running," it's our security forces folks. It's our logistics folks. They come up and ask, "Hey, do you have more?" and I go, I go back, I pick up the 1500 that they're making. I tell them I need 1000 more and then it turns into 2000.

By one o'clock in the morning, I did receive requests for 5000 meals. I was able to deliver those 5000 meals by about 3:30 in the morning. I'd started my shift at 6am the day prior. So about three o'clock in the morning, four o'clock in the morning, I'm sitting on the back of the tailgate of that truck, and I'd just unloaded the last of those 5000.

And at that point I . . . I couldn't barely think. It was–I was drained physically, I was drained emotionally. I'm sitting on the back of this tailgate and I knew that what we had just made, those 5000, wasn't going to scratch the surface, I actually started crying on the back of my tail gate. Because I knew physically I wasn't able to accomplish anymore. I had worked myself and the airmen that were–that were making this food, I'd worked them over, they were on hour 14, hour 16, because they did not want to fail either.

I knew at that point, the system itself was overwhelmed. Because we grew a city in seven days from 0 to 10,000, with another 8,000 coming into the system.

As I sat there, just looking out, I remember it was just a soft night, there's lights everywhere, but just sitting on that tailgate and looking out, knowing these are, these are children of God, and they have to eat. I didn't know it–it could have been two days, four days, you saw the pictures of them waiting at the airport to get on, well, they couldn't leave to go get food, they probably burned down their food supplies. And so I knew that we had to take care of them.

Not knowing what to do. I knew I had to–I had to ask for help. And so I had to stake president's cell phone in my–his number in my cell phone. And I remember it was 4:33 on Saturday morning. And I'm crying as I'm writing this text to our stake president. The text read, "Help. System is overwhelmed. Need help making to-go meals ASAP. Call when you can."

I remember sending that text and knowing that–I don't know if he's ever gonna get this. I don't know how he's gonna reply. I didn't know what to expect. I always have been able to do everything on my own. I don't usually call on people for help. But this is something–people are struggling and I can't do it alone.

And I remember at that point, I said, I gotta get going, breakfast has got to get delivered by six o'clock. It's almost five now. Okay, let's do this. And I remember as I was driving about 6:15 in the morning, I get a call. And it was my stake president. And his voice . . . I don't know. It was calming. And it was awesome. Because his first words were, "How can we help?"

When you hear those words, and you know that you can't do it yourself, it's just–it's comforting. And I remember telling him, "I have the food. I just don't have a way to package it. I don't have the means, I don't have the manpower available right now to package it."

He said, "Hold on, let me call you back." So about probably half an hour later, I get a call back from my stake president, "How about 10 o'clock in the morning we'll meet you at the O club?" "Perfect. Officer's club, 10 o'clock, you're going to bring some people."

Then he asked, "What supplies do you need?" I told him, "I have everything." He says "No, what supplies do we need? What are we going to be packing?" I told him we're going to be packing fruit, bread, yogurt, hummus–anything that we can feed, dates, anything that we have, we're going to be packing it. He said, "Great. I'll see you at 10 o'clock."

At 9:40 in the morning, I'm there with my coworker saying–and this is a Saturday the base, most of the base parking lots are empty. All of the action is down on the flightline. I come around the corner. And I see the O club parking lot. And it's full of cars–just packed. And as I pull into the O club, I see hundreds, hundreds of people. These are families. These are YSA's. These are missionary couples that are here. These are the Elders from our Church–I see them all and they're just standing there waiting.

And as soon as I pull up, a couple of them come up and ask, "Okay, what can we do?" At that time I just got another text saying, "I've got to–I've got to go, I've got another emergency that I've got to take care of." I let my coworker jump out and I said, "Just get them arranged. You know the food we have to get it to them."

At that point is when I head out. And it was funny, within 20 minutes I get a text from my coworker who's not a member of our Church. And she says, "These people are amazing." I wasn't sure what she was talking about until about a half an hour later, I made it back.

And they had . . . they had taken our officer's club, and where I had pallets stored, they had completely reorganized one of our entire giant ballrooms and they had reorganized it into a complete packing and distribution facility.

They had set up food lines–two food lines. And so someone would come grab a plastic bag, they'd walk through, and they get the two fruits dumped in there, they'd get a yogurt put in, they get their spoon put in. And they would take it down that line, and get all the food put in and tie it off, putting it in these giant bins that we had. And then they would just keep coming.

And so there was hundreds of people, and then the primary children were running through it was like a giant trick or treating event for them. They loved it, it was the bag game. And they were–it was old and young coming through.

As I came in and saw this, they were already producing. They'd already made 500 meals to distribute. The other thing that was amazing that I saw, I didn't recognize a lot of the food that they were packing. I knew all the food that we had, I knew the pallets–I'd carried most of those pallets in. I knew exactly what we had bought that we were ready to distribute.

The bread that we're distributing–didn't come from us. The yogurt, the fruit–and I asked, "Where's this coming from?" This is members bringing this in because they want to help. I was amazed. I mean, it was–it took what we had and doubled it.

So now it wasn't 5000–I was ready to feed even more. As they were packing all the food I remembered the Savior when he broke the bread and the fish. And he started, and he started distributing it and there was more, and there was more. And I remember sitting in that room thinking–I have more food now than what I had before I even started this. And I don't know where it all came from. But it's a miracle.

At that point, my–couple of my staff came and they took away my keys, because they realized that I'd hit 26-28 hours shift. And they knew that I wasn't safe to be driving. At that point I saw my boss, he was sitting over in the corner with my coworker. I wandered over and I sat next to them. And both of them, "Who are these people?" "Where did they come from? How did you get so many people?"

And I told them, "I sent a text. I asked for help. And this is the response." And they said your church is amazing. I can't even explain how–that missionary moment right there, I didn't have to say anything, the work, the people, said it all.

It was the break that was needed to give the system time to catch up. And once the system caught up, we were able to meet the demand. Over a three week period of time, our youth groups would come in, families would just come in and volunteer their time we left that ballroom set up and they would come in and together members of our stake over that period of time we distributed 32,000 meals to the–to-go meals that were for the inbound and outbound.

I think about our Savior, if He'd said on the back of that tailgate with me, He would have wept with me. He would have cried with me. He would put His arm around me. And then He would have done exactly what we did. "Let's find other servants who are willing to help. Let's ask for their help and let's get to work." And that . . . that to me is the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is the gospel.

KaRyn Lay 34:47

That was Ben. His literal story of fatigue made me weep big fat tears the first time I heard it because it speaks gospel truth. We are not alone physically or spiritually in our efforts to care for one another. That is our tool for self efficacy from Ben's story today.

Exhaustion, fatigue–those are real feelings that should be honored. And I am so glad that Ben had coworkers who took the keys and sent him home to sleep. We rest, and then we rise, and then we find other servants who are willing to help, we ask for their help, and we get to work together.

You may be tempted to shut down when you realize that there are hungry people, weary people, in need of a miracle. And you may feel that you don't have what it takes to call down heaven to multiply the loaves and the fishes like the Savior did.

But that is exactly the point of Ben's story. We don't have to create the miracle alone. When we join the body of Christ and become a disciple of Him, we are joined by the rest of the body. And if lifting one finger can't get the job done, then we lift the whole hand and the whole arm to gather in the stranger and multiply our efforts.

A few months ago, I learned that Utah would receive 765 of those Afghan refugees. Because I've participated in a resettlement before and I've watched my dear friend struggle and triumph over the strange new climate and culture–I will tell you, coming from Africa and having to learn to navigate the snow is no small feat.

Because I've watched them do that, I also know how important a mentor can be for those who are far from home. I felt the desire to help but honestly, I was feeling just overwhelmed by the task. I was in the thick of a new job with family obligations and health challenges and being a mentor takes time. It takes real time and a real commitment.

So I put it off. I was in a period of rest. And instead of allowing myself to be in that period of rest with some grace, I gave into my perfectionism and I berated myself was shamed for not doing more. And that shame lent itself to avoidance, and finally, I think compassion fatigue. I could tell that that's where I was when I scrolled past the stories and posts about children at the borders or refugee resettlement quickly, so that I wouldn't have to feel anything.

And this is where I tell you that this podcast episode and today's story signal my period of rising because I remembered two very important things. One, I don't have to do it alone. And two, I can do it imperfectly–awkwardly even. And the Spirit will communicate the truth of my intentions and my love.

If this is your time to rest, rest. But resist the urge to linger too long in compassion, fatigue. Rest to recharge and connect to God so that he can tutor you on your gifts and capabilities and prepare you for the hard work of succoring His children who are so, so very far from home.

As for me, I'm going to reach out to my local friends and find a group to volunteer together to be refugee mentors to someone who needs us, because that's the particular skill I have to offer. If you feel like this is your time for rising too, there are as many ways to chip in as there are stars in the beautiful sky that cover all of God's children.

And as Ben said, find your thing. Find other willing servants, ask them to help and get to work. When we do, I really believe that we'll find the Savior right by our side on the tailgate of that truck or the floor of that bathroom, or wherever He may send us to seek and serve His children.

That's it for this episode of "This Is the Gospel." Thank you to our storytellers, Bonnie and Ben and a special thank you to Kelly in Germany for taking my impassioned WhatsApp messages as I was looking for stories.

You can learn more about our storytellers in our show notes at LDS living.com/thisisthegospel. And if you're looking for a resource to help you find ways to help local refugees in your area, we'll have a link to the "Just Serve" website from the church that matches volunteers with local opportunities and organizations. We're also huge fans of the IRC, the International Rescue Committee and their global effort, we'll have a link to them as well.

All of the stories in this episode are true and accurate. As affirmed by our storytellers. If you have a true story about your life and living the gospel of Jesus Christ, we want to hear it. You can call and pitch your story on our pitch line at 515-519-6179. We meet so many of our storytellers this way and you'll have three minutes to leave us a pitch so plan ahead and give us the best parts first so we can learn as much as we can about you and your story. You can find more tips on how to pitch a great story by following us on Facebook or Instagram at @thisisthegospel_podcast and if you are enjoying this new season of great stories, please tell us about it.

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This episode was produced by Katie Lambert and Erika Free with additional story production and editing by Kelly Campbell and Erika Free. It was scored, mixed and mastered by Mix at Six studios, our executive producer isaron Hallstrom. You can find past episodes of this podcast and other LDS Living podcasts at LDS living.com/podcasts