A Call to Witness... A Call To Action
What we said yes to...
In mid-November 2021, a core team from Christ the King accepted the call to become a World Relief Good Neighbor Team (GNT) to walk alongside an Afghan family settling in our community. At the time we really knew little about what we said yes to, however being led by the Spirit does some miraculous things! Our congregation, and beyond, pitched in, donated and transported all the necessary items to furnish and equip a home with the basics for a family of 8 in less than two weeks' time. Amazing, what you all said yes to!
We welcomed them with food and slowly introduced ourselves to them. There were extensive medical issues, dental concerns, transportation needs, and cultural differences all with language being a significant barrier to communicating and understanding one another. Again, what did we say yes to?
It has been 6 months now and World Relief is officially ending their resettlement support for the family, but they will continue with some guidance based upon the significant needs for this family and as they adapt to our culture, systems and language. Many on our team will continue with them, assisting them in becoming more independent with transportation, continuing navigating the medical system, budgeting, etc. These are some of the "helps" we provided for the family, but the inner workings of the Spirit, the connections and relationships forged with this family have shown us beauty, joy, generosity and grace. This is what we have said yes to!
In the midst of difficult situations God shows us a way, teaches us patience and points us to love. Our hearts were opened to the generosity of a family who often offered meals to us and always tea and some snacks. We heard a new language where words were not necessary to hear. We also heard stories from them with words that were hard to hear. So thank you Christ the King for saying yes to this. We have served our neighbor and they have served us and changed us in ways we could not have imagined.
Uncertainties for their future here and obstacles toward citizenship persist for this family and other refugees, migrants and parolees entering our country. Fear of deportation is real. The ELCA is participating in the Congregations Network of AMMPARO(Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy Representation and Opportunities) Check out the following handout to learn more about this program and other resources for Immigrant & Refugee Allies
The Good Neighbor Team
Julie Meitzen, Kathy and Jim Weyers, Jeff and Maryann Otto, Jane and Terry Wyngaard, Jill Trentlage, Joy Paffenroth, Molly Paffenroth, Maria Nelson, Paul Gjerald, Tina Kopiske, Sue Devries, Pastor Nate, Pastor Dara