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Favorite Things: Refugee outreach volunteer Farah Khalil and her phone


This is going to sound strange, but I am a person who is always in need of guidance, even in the smallest things I do. Trying to make good decisions all the time is tricky for me.

How do you navigate helping people? How do you prevent them from taking advantage of you? How do you say no? What do you do when you feel low?

That’s why I refer back to my phone, searching a Koran index. I started doing this right after touch screen phones came out. I don’t really search it, but flip through things and click on them. I like to go with where it takes me.

Any time I feel confused, it is what I go to. It happens throughout my day. With refugees, you are dealing with people and families who are struggling. You have to be smart about how to help someone. You have to not always go in when someone cries wolf. You have to be smart with your resources and sort them out with who is in the most need.

You don’t want to wrong someone, but you still want to make the best decisions. Even if I do offend someone, I think that looking for the answers on my phone shows God at least I am trying.

One time I had this neighbor who was a normal neighbor, but then I found out she was getting into some stuff she wasn’t supposed to get into. She kept knocking on my door to ask me for my phone and I got nervous. I felt bad because she was such a good neighbor for a long time.

The very first thing that popped up on my phone when I searched for guidance was about neighborly needs. It told me I have to be attentive to your neighbor.

I then came to her and asked: “What do you need?” It may sound silly, but it was such a basic thing it helped me through. 

Sometimes the guidance I find can be as simple as remembering why I’m here on earth.

One of my favorite verses I refer back to on my phone is 15:85 in the Koran, “Indeed, in hardship comes ease.” That concept is very important.

When going through a terrible situation, It is hard to be grateful and hopeful. But if you believe there is a higher power and start to pay attention to Him, the more you will find ease and hope.

That is what I am fully searching for.

(This interview was edited and condensed by Dennis Burck. If you have a recommendation for “Favorite Things,” please email dennis@lansingcitypulse.com.)


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