On December 1st, 2021, Alina suddenly felt a pain in her stomach. Alina had come to the US just a few months before from Germany to study and play soccer in Peoria, IL. She expected to have many experiences in America, but not surgery.
Alina called Paula, a staff member at IFI who had helped her settle in. “I was afraid I would go somewhere and the doctor would tell me that it was nothing serious, but Paula took it seriously.” Paula drove her to the hospital and then stayed by Alina’s side.
When the doctors told her it was appendicitis, Paula emailed Alina’s professors and texted her parents to let them know. “My parents were worried, but I let them know that I was in good hands with Paula.”
Around 4 am Jim, Paula’s husband and IFI Peoria’s City Director, called and asked if he could pray for Alina. “He also asked if he could send a prayer request to the other IFI volunteers.”
Before Alina went in for surgery, Paula told her,
“You don’t have to be afraid. God is always with you.” Alina remembers that she got tears in her eyes because of the comfort she experienced. “The fact that I was far from my family and yet had people like this who really cared melted my heart.”
“The fact that I was far from my family and yet had people like this who really cared melted my heart.”
The surgery went well and Paula told her that many IFI volunteers prayed for her. Alina couldn’t stop smiling while Paula read all the messages from so many people. “Except for the pain, I felt so comfortable and appreciated. I could never describe how thankful I am that I met these people with the most wonderful hearts I have ever seen.”