Demonstration of caring using clasped hands, one old and wrinkled and the other young

New Years 2018: An Inspiring Story of Caring

This is the last in a series of 4 stories that shaped the Modern Church Lady’s New Years resolutions. Here’s the third story about Edafe, an asylee who taught me to extract “Too Busy” from my vocabulary.

Edafe’s Story

When my kids were small and both my husband and I worked over 50 hours a week and traveled extensively. “Too busy” was a phrase I often invoked when asked to do some good for someone outside my immediate circle. I felt justified given how hard I was working, both at the office and at home.

Church Lady, Edafe and Abu happy at the 2017 First Friends Benefit
Modern Day Church Lady with Edafe and Abu at First Friends Benefit

But meeting Edafe, I learned that no matter how bad their personal situation is, some people find a way to can help others. I became aware of Edafe when I noticed that the handwriting on letters from two different asylum seekers was the same. Turns out, Edafe wrote their letters for them as they struggled with written English.

Picture of former warehouse now a detention center in New Jersey
Elizabeth Detention Center

And once Edafe was granted asylum, he continued to visit the detention center to lift spirits and provide much needed advice about the arduous process of filing an asylum case. Even though he is busy too—working at the Hyacinth AIDs Foundation, studying at the Columbia School of Social Work and volunteering as a board member for First Friends.

Edafe Okporo speaking behind a lecturn at First Friends 2017 Benefit dinner
Edafe speaking at First Friends Benefit

Starting out as an Asylee in the US is hard, time-consuming work. There are mounds of paperwork to complete to receive basic benefits, find a place to live and get a job. Somehow Edafe has done it all, and still takes the time to help others. Here’s more on Edafe’s experience in detention and Edafe’s current activities.

So in 2018, my new years resolution is that when I get a request for help, I’ll think twice before I invoke the defense, “too busy,” as an excuse.

In 2018, I’m looking forward to all the Aslyum Seekers and Asylees I’ll meet.


Who knows what they will teach me!

Read the first three stories behind the Modern Day Church Lady’s New Years Resolution: TJ’s Story about persistence, Abu’s Story about faith and Mr. T’s Story about appreciation.

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