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Light in the Darkness: Inspiration to Serve Others

May 29, 2024

Light in the Darkness: Inspiration to Serve Others

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:3-4)


Have you ever met someone whose story is so compelling that it literally stopped you in your tracks and caused you to consider what actions you could take in this season to make a positive difference for others?


On Sunday, April 21, the OrthoIndy Foundation YMCA hosted the annual Monster Meeting, a meeting that builds on the Y’s rich history (with such noted past speakers as Eleanor Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, Jr.) and serves as a call to action and catalyst for social change and community action. On this day, among all the notable speakers, perhaps one voice stood out – that of Speedway High School student Sefae Abderezak Ali, whose story of courage, perseverance and service to others brought more than a few in attendance to tears.


Sefae’s story begins in Eritrea, an East African country that is located on the Red Sea across from Yemen and Saudi Arabia. At an early age, Sefae’s father left his family behind to search for work in a nearby country. In the process, Sefae’s father was taken hostage and locked away in an underground prison while his captors demanded a ransom for his release. After many years without relief, and facing an uncertain future, Sefae’s mother made the excruciating decision to flee Eritrea with Sefae and her sisters. She did so in hopes of emigrating to the Unites States, knowing that her decision could cause her daughters to face possible torture or even death. In their efforts to emigrate, Sefae (and her family) lived in refugee camps with tent houses in both Sudan and Ethiopia for several years before ultimately reuniting with her father in the United States after almost 13 years.


Sefae’s family’s experience in the refugee camps was life-changing. Without a roof over their heads, water to drink or a fire to cook their daily meals, Sefae’s family endured daily hardship. But amidst those hardships, Sefae learned incredible lessons of compassion for others. She shared how the kindness of others “left an indelible mark on my heart, igniting an unquenchable desire to give back and uplift those in need” knowing she “would never have survived, let alone arrived in the United States, without the help and compassion of many people along the way.”


In response, Sefae has since volunteered her time to help others in numerous ways – organizing food drives, collecting hundreds of cans of food for families in need, engaging in clothing drives to help kids stay warm during winter and raising money for Ukrainian refugees.


Wow… sometimes, inspiration is found in the most unexpected places.


Sefae’s story reminds us that the Bible calls each of us to follow the example of Jesus and serve one another in love (John 13:12-15). Building on the call to action from the YMCA Monster Meeting, Sefae beautifully illustrated that regardless of our past or current circumstances or challenges, we have the opportunity each day to make a positive difference for others. No act of service is too small when we realize that God can use each act of service to impact others and start a ripple effect beyond our imagination. Thanks to Sefae for sharing her compelling story and inspiring all of us to serve others.


How will you make a difference today at the Y or in our community for someone in need? I can only imagine the stories they will tell!


-Charlie G., OrthoIndy Foundation YMCA Spiritual Emphasis Committee

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