A Tribute to Yazmin Jamal Westin (1971 – 2018)

It was the late Margaret Thatcher who said, “If you want to get people together to talk about it,  gather all the men.  If you want to get things done, gather all the women.”

This is the quote that comes to my mind about Yazmin Westin.

I first met Yazmin Westin in 2017 when we were beginning our weekly refugee, immigrant outreach in the Speedway area of Indianapolis.   When we shifted from meeting at the apartment club house to the Speedway Baptist Church, Yazmin was an amazing and faithful volunteer every week.    She pretty much fed everyone alone (over 60 people every week) for many months and the refugee community loved her pasta salad she made, always asking if they could bring some back to their apartment.   I remember one evening Suk, a refugee from Bhutan, smiling and filling a Kroger plastic bag with Yazmin’s pasta salad. Suk kept saying, “Very good. Very good.” Yazmin smiled but was worried the pasta would fall out of the Kroger bag.     

Yazmin went out of her way and brought amazing toys, gifts, clothing, and books every week.

It was obvious her compassion was beyond mere pity for the refugees in the city.  Her compassion led her action.  It was not mere talk. Her love for the refugee community in Indianapolis was evident.  I could see it in her eyes and by observing her action and warmth towards others.

Yazmin reminded me of the words written by the younger brother of Jesus:

“Faith without works is dead”  (James 2:26)

Yazmin’s faith was alive for sure.  

One day, a school contacted me about a struggling family from Yemen living on the eastside of Indianapolis.    I called Yazmin and asked for help. She was on it. She connected me to people all over the city, from Carmel to Brownsburg.    I made about six stops. Through Yazmin’s help, we were able to fill a 14 foot truck to furnish 9 people living in an empty apartment.  They had been living in an empty apartment for 6 months. Yes, their apartment had only two single mattresses and a TV on the floor.  Story here

I was honored to ask Yazmin to be on our board of directors of Migros Aid last year, which she was considering prior to her diagnosis.    Although our paths in life crossed just last year,  I felt like I knew Yazmin for many years.   it was a real joy to know her and thank God for her life.

Please pray for Yazmin’s family:   Husband Eric Westin. Their children:  David, Isabel, Alia and Olivia.

By Joel Vestal,   Founder & Director of Migros Aid, Inc.

 

Read Yazmin’s obituary in the Indianapolis Star: 

“Yazmin Jamal Westin (ne Masud) died after a courageous battle with cancer, on March 8, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana at the age of 46…..

…She empathized with the disadvantaged, most recently volunteering with MigrosAid Indy, an English as a second language group hosted at her church: the group composed of immigrants, many from war torn countries, freely donating her time, clothes, cooking, and childcare….”

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