Shawn and Annie Hirsch first got involved with World Relief Durham in the fall of 2012. Since then, in partnership with their Good Neighbor Team, they have seen the positive power of building good relationships with refugees for relief and development.
Their Good Neighbor Team (GNT) formed shortly after Shawn and Annie provided donations for a refugee arrival. "First we just bought groceries for a family. We dropped them off, but we didn't get to meet the family," Annie said.
Currently, the Hirschs are serving a refugee family in Durham, and upon their arrival, they met them at the airport, ate dinner together, and played games. "This weekend, we're going to take them to get clothes and hang out with them," Annie said about the team's future plans with the family. "I'm also really excited for them to teach us how to play retan ball--it's a Burmese game. Then we also want to take them to a Durham Bulls game and things like that."
Annie also said that the refugees are young and active to sports are a must in their time spent together. Because of this, the team is excited to walk with the refugees in the Great Human Race on April 6th. So far, Shawn and Annie and another member of their GNT are committed to walk in the race, and they're looking forward to getting the refugees signed up as well.
"Volunteering at World Relief Durham is a great opportunity to form a relationship and serve people," Annie said. "It's different from serving strangers once that you'll never meet again; you really do get to know them and the relationship is mutually beneficial."
Both Shawn and Annie have learned immensely more about other cultures and the people in the Triangle that they wouldn't otherwise know. The need for volunteer ministry with refugees is obvious to the Hirschs, who are excited to continue working to serve the refugees in Durham.
"These people are from halfway around the world, and now we're sitting in the same room."