Sarah Boles has been to several countries in Africa many times—working, leading mission trips, conducting seminars, and more. So, when she was asked by SE Multination, a community campus of Southeast Christian Church, to visit an African refugee family who had recently moved to Louisville, she quickly said yes.
From her trips to Africa over the years, Sarah has seen all kinds of living conditions—conditions that most Americans would find challenging. But that was in Africa. So, imagine Sarah’s surprise when the condition of the family’s apartment more closely resembled what she had seen in rural Africa compared to what would be expected here in America. Doors missing from rooms, a leaky water heater, no sink in the bathroom, and more.
As Sarah and her husband, Jeremy, began advocating for the family with the apartment management, things seemed to get worse. A utilities inspector shut off the water heater after deeming it unsafe. That meant the dad, mom, and seven kids living there had to bathe and wash dishes with cold water, unless they first heated it on the stove.
Sarah knew the situation had to change, so she began to help. She checked in every week to see if conditions had improved, stayed for tea and meals, assisted with other concerns, and played with the children.
It wasn’t long before the family began attending SE Multination—where Sarah and Jeremy volunteer—each Sunday for worship. During one home visit about four months into Sarah’s relationship with the family, the father asked her why she was doing so much to help his family. Sarah replied, “Because you are my brother in Christ, and we love you.”
As the home visits continued and communication with the apartment management wasn’t producing results, legal help was engaged. After six months of visits, constant dialogue with the management, and a big boost from attorneys, the vast majority of the substandard living conditions were resolved.
In one of her regular status emails, Sarah wrote, “The father had been very frustrated, angry, and hurt that he could not improve the living conditions for his family. But we (Sarah and the family) have walked through this together, and we have been able to pray, encourage, and learn from each other.”
She continued: “A home visit is not just a home visit—it is an opportunity to show that we are not alone in our struggles and can help carry each other’s burdens. It is an incredible chance to build community, invest in the lives of others, meet felt needs, and open doors for two-way discipleship—we all have something to learn and to give!”
If you are interested in investing in the lives of others, helping carry their burdens, and building community through cross-cultural home visits, email MissionsMinistry@secc.org.