Welcoming a Refugee Family to Their New Home
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Thank you for the many contributions which made it possible for us to set up an apartment for a family of 5, who arrived in the United States in mid-March. The family comes from Afghanistan but had been housed most recently in Turkey. I had heard stories from members of our Outreach Commission that appointing the apartment is a wonderful experience. And at one point in my discussions with our mission partner, International Rescue Committee (IRC), it looked as if we would end up delivering your donations to their storage locker in SeaTac. But as grace would have it, IRC was able to do the necessary paperwork in time enabling us to actually deliver the goods and create a home for this family of five.
At one point during the day, I was making up one of the twin beds and said to Ron Snell, “I know that we are not to do perform this type of service to feel better about ourselves, but it does feel really good to participate in such a hospitable act.” Kathryn Blackley and I talked about the thoughts and feelings we experienced as we opened each box and placed plates, pots and pans, silverware, glassware and furniture in the apartment provided by IRC. We could imagine the delightful expression on this family’s face as they entered their new home where each person would have a place to sit in the den, at the kitchen table, a place to rest after their long voyage. A place they can truly call home, not a temporary stop along the way.”
This is the work Jesus calls us to in Matthew 25. It is my hope and prayer that our ideas will only increase as we continue to discern what it means for us to be an immigrant welcoming congregation.
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