Week 4: March 23rd

Each Wednesday in Lent, we invite you in to join us in hearing the stories of refugees and immigrants who have given up everything to find a better life. Especially the women and girls whose resiliency, strength, and power inspire us every day.

This week, we hear the story of Laetitia. We hear about her passion to make her new home better for all those that come after her. After hearing Laetitia's story, we invite you to reflect upon scripture and pray - together or alone - the words written or what ever else might be weighing on your heart. 

As you are able, we invite you to gather each Wednesday for this time of retreat around a meal. Sample soup recipes can be found at the bottom of this page.

It’s been more nearly 25 years since Laetitia Mizero Hellerud fled Burundi amid political and ethnic tensions, her son and four young siblings in tow.

She and her family were resettled in Fargo, North Dakota by an LIRS affiliate—and though she knew no one when she arrived in the freezing town, she quickly became a pillar in her community. She joined the staff of the resettlement office that had welcomed her and, over the years, came to serve as the preeminent intercultural liaison between businesses in Fargo and the ever-growing refugee community.

Soon, she found herself serving on multiple boards for local and regional organizations and, in 2020, on the North Dakota State Senate ballot.

“I never thought about being a politician, honestly, but I felt many voices were missing in Bismarck, especially looking at how our communities are changing and growing in diversity. We are shifting, but we’re not necessarily seeing that in our legislature. That didn’t make sense to me.”

Though she did not win the election, Laetitia made her mark. She continues to see herself as a bridge between cultures, and believes strongly that we can build on what unifies us rather than what divides us.  

 Today, Laetitia is the principal of her own diversity, equity, and inclusion consultancy and the author of Being at Home in the World. In 2020, she received the competitive and prestigious Bush Fellowship with a focus on increasing civic engagement among the New American community.

"I'm here to stay," she says, "and I'm here to help build our country...to make this place better."   

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;"

(John 11:25)

REFLECT:

  • In this particular scripture from John chapter 11, Jesus reassures Martha that though her brother Lazarus has died, his soul will live on forever. Those that believe in Him shall not die. Just as souls that believe in Christ live on, so do the stories and memories of those we've loved and cherished live on in our minds. We invite you to reflect on those that have made an impact on your life in such a way that their memory shall always live on. 
  • Laetitia has made her mark on history and continues to strive to make this country a better place for all. Her impact will continue to live on for generations to come. In what ways can you make an impact on your community - big or small - in the coming days, months, or years?

________________________

PRAY:

Living God, 

You are the way, the truth, and the life.

We know that by believing in you, we are reborn.

You walk alongside our journeys and guide the impact we have on the world.

You've guided Laetitia and we ask that you continue to bless her path so that she might be able to continue being the trailblazer you created her to be.

We thank you and give you praise for your guidance and love that strengthens us to make an impact on the communities we reside in. 

Grant us rest when we need it, strength when we fall short, and words when we fail to speak. 

You are the resurrection. We ask all this in Your holy name,

Amen.

________________________

Recipes to Try:

Given the traditional Lenten focus on sacrifice, abstinence and plainness, Lenten suppers are simple, having foods like soup that are shared with a community, inviting others to share in the stories of Jesus Christ.


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