Vol. 4, 2016-2017
Members of St. Martha's Knights of Columbus Council 12320, Kingwood, TX started their Christmas season with a gift of giving to a young family in need. During the council’s monthly planning meeting, a young man interrupted the meeting seeking help for a woman, her infant son, and her 4-year-old son who unexpectedly found themselves without shelter for the night. She had knocked on the young man’s door asking for a place to stay for the night. Wary of bringing a stranger into his home but eager to help, he jumped into action by driving her around to different churches in the area until he came upon the Knights in their planning meeting. Because the woman didn’t speak English, the details of her situation were unknown. No problem, right? This is Texas so she probably speaks Spanish, and we have plenty of multilingual brother Knights who will be eager to help. That’s when things got complicated. As it turned out, the council members quickly realized that she didn’t speak Spanish either. With a little back and forth using the few English she knew, they learned that she was from Micronesia and spoke native Chuukese and wanted to contact a relative in Iowa through Facebook. Despite multiple attempts, the Knights were unable to make that connection for her and were unable to find an English-Chuukese translator app, so now the Knights were at a loss for what to do next. By this time, other council members had begun to gather for the regular monthly meeting so that meant there was a hot meal to be shared with the family while the Knights and other parishioners got to work trying to find a way forward. They reached out to the local police for help and began calling around to the various shelters and looking for a translator service, even calling the American Embassy in Micronesia. With the shelters either full or unreachable, no luck finding a translator service, and with no return call from the Embassy, the situation seemed hopeless until there was finally a breakthrough. The police officer was able to contact another of the woman’s relatives in Colorado who served as our translator, but this family’s story was heartbreaking. They had been brought to the US by her husband to live with his family, but the husband and family grew tired of them and kicked them out on the street. She had been walking around all day trying to find help and was unable to provide a street address to the Police Officer or a phone number to contact the husband. The relative in Colorado was able to reach the relative in Iowa who agreed to help if we could get her to Des Moines. Fast forward about an hour, the Knights attending the council meeting, along with other Parishioners on site, donated almost $700 for bus tickets and spending money for the family to get to Des Moines, gathered diapers for the infant, secured them a ride to the bus station complete with an infant car seat and child’s booster seat that were made available by the wife of one of the Knights, and two Knights who volunteered to chaperone the family to the bus station and to purchase their tickets and a pre-paid phone for the journey, and to make sure they made it safely on their way with travel instructions translated by her Colorado relative. Then, while waiting at the bus station, the kindness of others began to come forth in the form of a young man who purchased the family some bottles of water, another young man who helped the brother Knights activate the pre-paid phone, a bus driver who said he would make sure she is safely handed off to subsequent bus drivers, and another man who was also traveling to Des Moines who said he would watch out for her. Roughly 24 hours later, the Knights received a text with a photo of the family standing in front of a Christmas tree with a message that they had arrived safety in Des Moines and thanking everyone for their generosity and kindness, and especially to the brother Knight’s wife who, mother to mother, showed Christ’s unconditional love to someone in need. For all those involved, this was a December to remember.
True meaning of the holiday; reminds you of the story of Jesus.
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