December 7

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! 

Psalm 133:1 (NIV)

Every time I sit and look around, I feel blessed with everything I have since not everyone gets what they want. My early childhood was spent in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. When I was five, my family moved to Uganda in search of safety. We did not find it in Uganda. There was much corruption and we often went without electricity and food because it was so expensive. 

Two years back, we again moved to find safety, this time to Akron, Ohio as refugees in the United States. My family soon began attending Saint Anthony Catholic Church in North Hill. We were welcomed with open arms, even though we were the first people of color to attend their church. It brought me so much joy! They helped us connect with others who provided furniture and supplies as we adjusted to life in a new country, especially since we moved with only our clothes. My sisters and I even joined the church choir. When we reached Akron, I didn't think I would accomplish what I have in life right now without God being by my side spiritually. 

Last year I was introduced to First Serve through my school, North High. I met these beautiful ladies Sue Wimer, Kris Stoehr, and Jennifer Hockstra. We worked together all summer and I felt a sense of belonging and welcome from First Serve. Not only did I learn new skills, ideas, and talents, I had the opportunity to meet kids from Hudson High School who shared great memories with me throughout the summer. It was my first time visiting Hudson, and I loved every second of it. I felt so welcomed at the First Congregational Church that I wanted to move to Hudson because it felt like home. 

My journey has shown me that home is more about the people and not about the place. Home is having everyone you love around you, cousins, family, friends, the more people the better. That is what makes me feel at home. 

Saraza Byake, First Serve summer intern

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